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VOL.   I. 

Digitized  by  the  Internet  Archive 

in  2012  with  funding  from 

LYRASIS  members  and  Sloan  Foundation 



BY  ; 



THE    KEVOLUTION    OF    1848, 

VOL.    I. 






"VTAPOLEON  has  said,  "  The  history  of  France  must  be  written  in  two 
-i- 1  volumes  or  in  a  hundred."  The  latter  task  is  beyond  the  powers 
of  one  man.  "Whilst  still  young  I  dared  to  undertake  the  former ;  and 
when,  a  few  years  after  the  Revolution  of  1830,  I  first  printed  this  work, 
we  had  not  in  our  language  any  precis  of  our  history  continued  down  to  a 
contemporary  period.  In  writing  these  volumes,  I  purposed  presenting 
to  my  reader,  in  a  compact  form,  a  comprehensive  set  of  events,  describing 
the  principal  causes  and  the  great  men  who  gave  birth  to,  or  who 
directed  them ;  and  to  elicit  from  the  confused  mass  of  details  the 
particular  character  of  each  epoch.  In  a  word,  to  exhibit  what,  through 
past  centuries,  France  owes  to  the  force  of  circumstances,  to  chance,  to 
the  progress  of  time  and  civilization.  This  very  arduous  task  was  in  my 
first  work  but  very  incompletely  carried  out. 

In  the  succeeding  editions  of  my  history,  I  very  much  extended  the 
"^-Onarrative,  and  more  than  once  I  modified  either  my  exposition  of  facts,  or 
my  deductions  from  them.     There  is  a  wide  interval  between  the  tran- 
sient glances  of  youth  and  the  clearer  observation  of  mature   age  ;    the 
historian,  as   his    view   becomes    wider    and    his    knowledge     deeper, 
feels   the  necessity  for  making   his  reader   acquainted  with  his  progress, 
that  he  may  share  in  the  narrator's  more  advanced  views  as  to  men  and 
^    things.     Besides,  what  thoughtful  man,   living  in  the  agitated  times  in 
which  we  have   lived,  could  be  vain   enough  never  to  correct  his  first 
..  judgment  by  the  lessons  of  events  and   experience  ?     Nevertheless,  my 
opinions  as  to  essential  points  have  not  varied;   and  it  will  not,  perhaps, 
be  useless  to  make  here,  in  a  few  words,  my  profession  of  principles  from 
;  the  twofold  point  of  view  of  morals  and  policy  in  history. 

At  the  present  day,  as  in  the  past,  I  believe  that  the  immutable  laws  of 

.     morals  are  the  same  for  nations  as  for  individuals;  and  that  it  is  by  the 

"*>.  light  of  conscience  illumined  by  Divine  agency  that  we  must  judge  of  the 

history  of  entire  humanity.     At  the  present  time,  as  formerly,  I  believe  that 

the  upward  growths  of  ideas  and  of  manners,  aided  by  the  advances  made 

vol.  l  b 


in  commerce  and  industry,  and  recently  by  so  many  admirable  discoveries, 
are  tending  to  make  the  peoples  understand  better  every  day  that  they 
are  not  the  natural  enemies  of  each  other;  that  the  waves  and  seas  are 
not  placed  between  nations  as  eternal  barriers  to  separate  them,  but  as 
the  mighty  means  of  bringing  together  and  uniting  them.  I  believe, 
contrarily  from  what  was  believed  in  pagan  antiquity,  that  the  in- 
dividual is  not  made  for  the  State,  but  the  State  for  individuals  ;  and  that 
the  more  freely  men  are  allowed  to  exercise  all  their  rights,  under 
the  guidance  of  religion,  of  morals,  and  of  law,  the  more  shall  we  see 
the  State  increase  in  prosperity  and  in  power.  I  believe,  finally,  that  the 
best  governments  are  those  which  elevate  the  moral  and  intellectual  level 
of  the  people,  increase  the  general  well-being,  and  cause  the  greatest 
possible  number  of  persons  to  participate  in  the  benefits  of  civilization. 
'  Such  are  the  truths  which  the  historian,  according  to  my  lights,  is  bound 
to  receive  and  never  to  lose  sight  of. 

In  the  primitive  scheme  of  this  work,  as  in  all  the  subsequent  editions 
of  it,  I  concluded  my  narrative  with  the  Eevolution  of  1830.  I  showed 
how  monarchical  and  parliamentary  government  had  been  introduced 
among  us,  and  I  briefly  recounted  the  first  period  of  its  existence.  It 
remained  for  me  to  narrate  the  latter  period,  and  to  say  how  France, 
after  having  possessed  parliamentary  and  monarchical  liberty  during  thirty- 
four  years,  lost  it. 

During  the  first  years  which  followed  the  Eevolution  of  February,  and 
whilst  a  return  to  the  fundamental  principles .  of  a  representative  and 
parliamentary  monarchy  appeared  chimerical,  the  duty  of  the  historian 
was  to  let  the  heat  of  political  passions  subside,  and  silently  to  mature 
his  judgment  on  recent  events.  He  might  thus  be  able  to  refrain  from 
recalling  painful  recollections,  especially  for  those  men  whose  errors, 
no  less  than  whose  services,  whose  honourable  character,  whose  rare 
talents,  France  has  never  been  able  to  forget.  But  at  this  day,  when  the 
nation  seems  about  to  awake,  and  when  so  many  eloquent  and  generous 
voices  recall  to  mind  the  ideas  and  the  traditions  of  free  govern- 
ment, it  is  no  longer  seemly  in  the  historian  to  remain  quiescent.  He  must 
remember  that  history  is  the  guide  of  peoples,  and  that  to  aid  them,  and 
to  preserve  them  from  shipwreck,  it  must  signal  to  contemporaries  the 
rocks  on  which  others  have  struck  and  broken. 

Finally,  the  more  general  and  ardent  the  desire  to  regain  lost  liberties, 
the  more  necessary,  at  the  same  time,  is  the  study  of  the  reign  which 


alone  can  tell  us  how  those  liberties  perished.  The  truth  as  to  this  reign 
has  never  been  wholly  told.  It  has  been  distorted  by  its  enemies,  and 
often  obscured  by  its  friends,  whilst  by  many  mere  spectators  of  events  as 
they  happened,  and  by  many  who  have  written  on  this  period,  after  taking 
therein  a  more  or  less  active  part,  the  verities  have  been  presented  in  a 
very  attenuated  form.  It  could  not  be  otherwise.  Rarely,  indeed,  do  we 
resign  ourselves  to  accept  equally  the  honour  of  success,  or  the  responsi- 
bility of  disgrace,  and  it  seems  a  dangerous  thing  to  reveal  the  wounds 
of  a  regime  which  we  aspire  to  see  renewed.  Many  feel  constrained  to 
draw  a  veil  over  or  keep  back  the  truth,  out  of  a  very  commendable  re- 
gard for  great  misfortunes.  More  are  afraid  of  causing  displeasure — 
either  to  actors  in  the  events  of  yesterday,  or  to  those  who  may  be 
participators  in  the  events  of  to-day  or  to-morrow.  Each  one  makes 
terms  with  his  recollections.  We  seek  to  set  up  an  illusion,  and  the 
opinion  takes  root  that  the  greatest  political  and  social  deluge  of  this 
century  was  an  effect  without  any  necessary  or  logical  cause, —  the 
simple  result  of  an  unfortunate  concourse  of  exceptional  and  fortuitous 
circumstances.  Thus  no  one  has  any  very  serious  reproaches  to  make 
against  himself.     Destiny  has  so  designed,  Fatality  has  done  it  all. 

Is  it  well  that  we  should  write  history  thus,  with  posterity  before  our 
eyes  ?  Do  we  know  what  we  are  doing  by  these  compromises,  these 
cowardly  evasions  ?  We  forget  the  truth  spoken  by  Montesquieu,  that 
"behind  great  events  there  are  always  great  moral  causes;"  and  we  fail  to 
see  that  if  no  one  be  responsible  for  the  misfortunes  we  deplore,  we  must 
demand  an  account  from  these  very  institutions  which  we  regret,  from 
these  very  lost  liberties  which  we  desire  to  see  recalled.  Thus  become 
justifiable  in  the  eyes  of  many  men  political  indifference,  distrust,  disdain 
even,  for  parliamentary  government,  and  for  those  liberties  to  which  they 
attribute  all  our  misfortunes.  Such  must  be  the  inevitable  results  of 
the  defaults  of  history,  of  interested  or  generous  reticence,  of  com- 
plaisant and  fatal  frauds.  No !  if  the  most  essential  of  our  political 
liberties  have  perished,  the  fault  lies  not  in  these  liberties,  nor  with  the 
charters  in  which  they  are  written  ;  the  loss  is  due  partly  to  individuals, 
partly  to  causes  which  will  be  examined  in  their  place.  I  shall  here  indi- 
cate but  one  cause,  particularly  disastrous  under  a  representative  form  of 
government,  and  I  shall  call  public  attention,  with  many  other  writers,  to  the 
abuses  of  our  administrative  system,  and  to  the  dangers  of  excessive  cen- 
tralization— the  unhappy  legacy  of  the  old  regime  and  of  the  first  Empire. 



I  wish  not  to  be  misunderstood.  In  pronouncing  at  this  period, 
with  almost  the  whole  of  my  countrymen,  against  centralization  without 
limits,  I  nevertheless  acknowledge  all  the  advantages  it  has  lent,  during 
many  centuries,  to  the  unity  of  public  power ;  and  I  do  not  forget  the 
most  characteristic  fact  of  our  history  which  exhibits  France,  from  the 
days  of  Charlemagne  down  to  an  epoch  approaching  our  own,  ever  increas- 
ing in  power  and  extent,  according  as  the  power  of  the  Sovereign  or  of 
the  State  grew  and  absorbed  within  itself  all  other  powers.  No  one  at 
the  present  day  can  deny  that  which  the  royal  authority,  aggrandized  and 
firmly  established,  has  done  in  consolidating  territory,  in  putting  an  end 
to  intestine  wars,  in  delivering  the  people  from  feudal  oppression.  I  will 
go  further.  In  a  great  country  like  France,  formed  out  of  many  states 
for  a  long  period  almost  strangers  to  each  other,  and  surrounded  by 
powerful  neighbours,  a  force  capable  of  maintaining  the  integrity  of  the 
soil,  of  preserving  order  and  peace  within,  of  acting  abroad,  and  extend- 
ing afar  our  relations  and  our  influence,  is  an  incontestible  necessity,  and 
one  which  all  judicious  men  are  constrained  to  admit. 

But  when  overleaping  every  barrier,  this  same  central  power,  in  place 
of  widening  the  sources  of  a  people's  life,  hinders  and  limits  them,  as  was 
the  case  in  France  during  the  second  half  of  the  reign  of  Louis  XIY. ; 
when  it  contracts  or  destroys  the  liberties  necessary  to  the  equilibrium 
of  the  social  forces ;  when,  instead  of  stimulating  the  activity,  the 
vigilance,  and  the  energy  of  every  member  of  the  State,  it  benumbs  and 
paralyzes  them;  when  it  tends,  by  substituting  itself  for  the  combined  actions 
of  all,  to  deprive  every  individual  member  of  the  State  of  the  desire 
to  act,  this  central  power  becomes,  instead  of  a  means  of  progress,  an 
obstacle  and  a  danger. 

During  the  last  century  we  may  discover  many  points  of  resemblance 
between  the  practices  of  the  French  administration  and  the  governments 
of  China  and  of  the  Lower  Empire ;  and  if  there  was  in  the  legitimate 
aspirations  of  France  in  1789  an  idea  which  dominated  every  other,  an 
idea  common  to  all  the  three  orders  of  the  State,  an  idea  clearly 
and  warmly  expressed  by  all,  it  was  the  desire  to  throw  off  the  yoke  of 
centralized  administration.  Open  the  famous  records  of  the  period,  and 
at  every  page  we  shall  see,  under  one  form  or  another,  the  same  com- 
plaints, the  same  hopes. 

The  dangers  to  which  excessive  centralization  gives  rise  both  for 
governments  and  the  governed  have  been   exposed  in  our  own  time  by 


the  most  eminent  men,  and  the  Emperor  himself  has  admitted  the  evil 
by  displaying  the  desire  to  apply  a  remedy.  Of  the  consequences  of  such 
a  system  I  shall  confine  myself  to  the  recalling  the  most  pernicious,  from 
the  double  point  of  view  of  morals  and  of  policy.  On  the  one  hand, 
we  see  face  to  face  with  the  omnipotence  of  the  State  the  complete 
separation  from  power  of  every  non-official  man,  and  his  absolute  impo- 
tence, whence  most  frequently  result  the  forgetfulness  of  the  public  weal, 
the  entire  absorption  of  the  individual  in  material  and  private  interests, 
general  apathy  and  abasement  of  character.  On  the  other  hand,  we  see 
the  inherent  instability  of  institutions,  of  laws,  of  interests,  and  of 
affairs  when  the  governmental  or  administrative  machine  works  in  such 
a  way  that  it  needs  but  the  touch  of  a  bold  and  firm  hand  upon  the 
principal  wheel,  upon  the  chief  motor,  tc  render  all  resistance  impossible, 
to  establish  by  coercion  a  victory  over  order. 

To  account  for  a  condition  of  things  rife  in  revolutions  of  all  kinds,  more 
often  under  a  representative  regime  than  any  other,  and  denounced  to  the 
preceding  generation  in  austere  and  indignant  language  by  the  illustrious 
Roy er- Collar d  when  passing  in  review  some  of  the  most  famous  events 
of  the  revolutionary,  consular,  and  imperial  epochs,  he  named  but  a 
sole  cause — administrative  centralization — growing  and  gathering 
strength  under  the  most  diverse  forms  of  government,  and  planting 
its  foot  upon  the  ruins  of  every  institution  where  French  liberties  had 
found  a  fleeting  refuge.  "  Monstrous  power,"  said  he,  "  power  destruc- 
tive, among  other  liberties,  of  electoral  liberty,  without  which  Ministerial 
responsibility  is  but  a  dead  letter,  and  representative  government  but  a 
fiction  and  a  phantom."  Such  was  the  gnawing  evil  which  Royer- 
Collard  pointed  out  in  the  state  of  France  under  the  Restoration,  an  evil 
which  has  existed  under  every  subsequent  reign :  it  has  proved  a 
mortal  wound  to  the  one  regime  as  to  the  other. 

To  struggle  against  an  evil  so  deeply  rooted,  to  cripple  the  action  of 
this  absorbing  and  limitless  power,  two  methods  present  themselves :  we 
may  restrain  it  by  abridging  the  number  of  its  prerogatives,  or  by  set- 
ting up  beside  it  other  powers  and  other  forces.  These  two  means  may 
be  essayed  simultaneously ;  to  speak  truly,  they  are  but  one  and  the 
same,  for  to  abridge  excessive  powers  is  to  create  salutary  checks. 

In  favour  of  this  view  there  is  the  feeling,  growing  stronger  every  day, 
which  tells  each  of  us  that'  our  revolution  has  destroyed  too  much,  has 
broken  too  many  of  our  traditions,  has  toO  far  forgotten  that  nations,  no 


less  than  families  and  individuals,  cannot  violate  natural  laws,  and  con- 
sequently cannot,  without  peril,  separate  themselves  entirely  from  their 
past.  Further,  if  it  were  shown  that  there  was  something  in  the  con- 
stitution of  ancient  France  the  loss  of  which  was  to-day  much  regretted, 
would  it  be  but  acting  courageously  and  sensibly  if  we  sought  to  recover 
it — at  least,  if  there  were  anything  to  be  regained,  if  all  had  not  been  so 
completely  destroyed  that  not  a  trace  could  be  discovered  ? 

It  is  a  fact  of  the  highest  importance,  according  to  my  view,  that  there 
exists  in  France  an  opinion  favourable  to  this  research — to  this  examina- 
tion. We  feel,  and  we  acknowledge,  that  the  administrative  power,  at  the 
present  day  omnipotent  and  concentrated  about  the  very  heart  of  the 
State,  can  only  wisely  be  limited  and  balanced  by  other  mighty  forces, 
whose  component  parts  should  work  freely ;  and  already  our  glances  are 
directed  towards  that  one,  of  all  our  institutions,  where  abides  some  feeble 
remnants  of  the  liberties  of  ancient  France — I  mean  the  institution  of 
General  Councils  of  our  departments. 

Great  and  legitimate  hopes  lie  in  this  direction  ;  there  lies  the  germ  of 
a  fruitful  institution,  as  is  proved  by  our  esteem  for  these  modest 
assemblies.  But  this  esteem  is  only  a  happy  sign,  a  wholesome  presage ; 
the  call  to  follow  in  this  track  is  but  faint.  What,  indeed,  in  a  vast 
empire  can  these  feeble  deliberative,  or  rather  consultative  bodies,  effect 
— elected  only  yesterday,  without  any  grave  powers,  meeting  so  rarely,  and 
for  so  short  a  time  ?  What  a  wide  interval  between  them  and  the 
ancient  meetings  in  our  country  of  States  and  of  Provincial  Assemblies,* 
the  happy  attributes  of  which,  before  the  French  Eevolution,  an  eloquent 
and  able  pen  has  recently  recalled  to  our  memory.  What  are  they,  in 
fine,  compared  with  those  Provincial  States  which  in  neighbouring 
countries — in  Belgium  and  in  Holland — are,  through  their  delegates, 
permanently  and  successfully  acting  as  the  agents  of  the  executive  power  ? 

It  is  not  solely  as  a  guarantee  of  the  maintenance  of  the  public 
liberties  that  the  prerogatives  and  the  authority  of  our  departmental 
assemblies  should  be  increased ;  it  is  desirable  they  should  possess 
enlarged  powers  in  order  that  those  who  take  part  in  their  deliberations 
should  be  raised  in  rank  thereby;  thus  the  right  to  sit  in  them  would 
become  the  object  of  a  high  and  legitimate  ambition,  the  sole  means 
perhaps  of  mitigating  the  evil  which  devours  us,  of  arresting  that  furious 

*  See  the  remarkable  work  of  M.  de  Lavergne,  on  "  The  Provincial  Assemblies  of 
France  previous  to  1789." 


and  disordered  movement  which  precipitates  the  provinces  upon  Paris, 
•which  each  day  draws  away  from  the  limbs  of  the  social  body  more 
blood  and  more  vital  strength  to  throw  them  upon  the  heart,  where  the 
plethora  is  mortal.* 

Statesmen,  celebrated  publicists,  have  understood  the  necessity  of 
creating  or  rather  of  re-establishing  throughout  the  extensive  territories 
of  our  departments  the  powerful  elements  of  local  forces,  and  of  strong 
incentives  to  human  activity. 

Already  in  some  parts  power  has  been  brought  together  to  act  on  the 
springs  of  justice,  of  military  authority,  and  of  public  instruction.  It 
remains  to  give  action  to  this  power.  This  appears  possible  only  by 
reanimating  in  a  sufficient  degree  the  representative  elements  of  the 
country,  so  that  the  elective  assemblies  shall  represent  not  simply  de- 
partments, but  vast  portions  of  the  soil,  called  indifferently  territorial 
or  seignorial  divisions. 

I  shall  dare  to  go  farther ;  and  may  my  presumption  be  pardoned  to 
one  of  the  historians  of  our  old  France !  I  shall  dare  to  dispute  the 
right  to  obliterate  some  of  the  names  of  our  ancient  provinces,  at  the  risk 
of  wounding  that  fatal  levelling  tendency  in  France  beneath  which  I 
have  always  seen,  whether  under  a  monarchical  or  republican  form,  the 
most  powerful  auxiliary  to  despotism.  It  has  dragged  our  sires  over  that 
dangerous  path  opened  by  the  author  of  the  "  Contrat  Social,"  when  out  of 
hatred  for  privileges  they  brought  down  all  things  to  the  level  of 
tyrannical  unity,  and  when  they  thought  that  in  order  to  be  free  it 
sufficed  to  be  equal.  The  members  of  the  Constituent  Assembly  at 
least  acted  logically  :  resolved  to  erase  every  vestige  of  the  institutions  of 
our  country;  all  powerful  in  the  centre  of  the  State; — it  being  moreover 
necessary  to  their  purpose  to  render  all  opposition  impossible — there  were 
no  more   effectual  means  for  the  execution  of  their   project  than  those 

*  I  can  only  give  here  a  few  sketches,  and  it  is  not  the  place  to  create  a  system. 
Preoccupied,  in  the  interests  of  general  liberty,  with  increasing  the  power  of  the  great 
provincial  elective  assemblies,  I  have  not  spoken  of  the  cantonal  and  communal  organi- 
zation. It  will  be  understood  that  these  will  form  the  basis  of  the  institutions  destined 
to  moderate  the  administrative  central  force,  and  to  balance  it.  A  celebrated  writer, 
Mr.  John  Stuart  Mill,  has  said :  "  In  many  cases  though  individuals  may  not  do  the 
particular  thing  so  well,  on  the  average,  as  the  officers  of  Government,  it  is  never- 
theless desirable  that  it  should  be  done  by  them  rather  than  by  the  Government,  as 
a  means  to  their  own  mental  education."  I  invite  the  reader  to  peruse  the  excellent 
comments  of  M.  Edou'ard  Laboulaye,  on  the  system  of  Mr.  Mill,  in  his  w oik,  "De 
l'Etat  et  de  ses  limites,''  pp.  53-68. 


they  conceived  and  carried  out.  Perceiving  an  obstacle  to  their 
enterprise  in  the  ancient  provincial  organization  of  the  country,  they 
extinguished  our  provinces ;  they  divided  them,  split  them  up  into 
scanty  fragments,  deprived  them  of  all  common  action,  and  of  all  those 
natural  bonds  created  by  heroic  names,  memorials,  and  historical  tradi- 
tions. The  provinces  thus  isolated  and  separated  one  from  the  other, 
it  presently  needed  but  the  word  of  a  master  to  prevent  their  making  the 
least  effort  without  his  orders,  or  of  settling  for  themselves  the  simplest 
question  or  the  most  trifling  affairs.  Paris  thus  became  more  and 
more  the  burning  hearthstone  of  all  our  interests,  of  all  political  contests, 
and  of  all  ambition  ;  the  equilibrium  of  the  body  social  has  been  dis- 
turbed for  the  apparent  benefit  of  .a  single  city ;  on  the  banks  of  the 
Seine  there  has  been  concentrated  movement  and  life,  whilst  almost 
everywhere  else  there  is  nought  but  paralysis  and  death. 

I  am  of  those  who  are  struck  by  the  perils  of  such  a  state  of  things, 
and  who  believe  that  it  is  imperative  to  act  against  the  baleful  tendency 
which  dragged  our  fathers  so  far.  To  carry  out  our  purpose,  we 
must  show  ourselves  to  be  as  logical  as  they  were ;  they  have  mutilated 
and  divided  the  limbs  of  France  in  order  to  enfeeble  them ;  we  must  now 
restore  life  to  them,  reunite  them  and  group  them  together  according  to  the 
natural  affinities  indicated  by  geography  and  by  history.  That  which 
has  been  overthrown  to  the  vital  prejudice  of  local  liberties,  the 
veritable  ramparts  of  all  political  liberties,  we  must  restore  in  the 
highest  possible  degree,  for  the  advantage  of  those  very  liberties  to  which 
we  afresh  aspire,  and  which  an  august  speaker  has  rightly  called  the 
crowning  of  the  edifice. 

Utopia !  cry  the  clever  and  superstitious  admirers  of  unity.  I  am 
aware  how  strongly  prejudice  acts  against  such  a  work,  against  any  re- 
constitution  of  provincial  powers.  A  writer  already  cited,  M.  Lavergne, 
although  he  has  demonstrated  better  than  any  one  else  the  action  of  the 
provincial  assemblies  created  under  Louis  XVI.,  yet  seems  to  me  not  to 
have  completely  comprehended  all  the  bearings  of  the  act  which  has 
destroyed  our  provinces.  "  This  act,"  he  says,  "  by  which  appellations 
derived  from  a  river  or  a  mountain  have  been  substituted  for  the  ancient 
names  of  the  provinces  of  France,  had  neither  advantages  nor  disadvan- 
tages, being  only  revolutionary  child's  play."  No,  it  is  not  child's  play  to 
substitute  for  a  national  name,  surrounded  by  the  spell  of  centuries,  a 
new  name  which  recalls  nothing  to  the  mind — to  the  memory.     It  is   in 


this  respect  that  states  and  bodies  are  constituted  like  historical  families ; 
in  snatching  from  them  their  past,  their  traditions,  the  honour  and  renown 
of  their  acts,  you  deprive  every  one  of  the  high  ambition  of  being  allied 
with  them,  of  the  legitimate  pride  of  being  an  off-shoot  from  them. 
Alas,  France,  so  jealous  of  her  honour,  of  her  preponderance,  towards 
foreign  nations,  is  afraid  of  herself  and  of  her  past !  Her  history,  if  one 
of  the  most  humble  of  those  who  have  written  it  may  be  permitted  to  say 
so,  her  history  is  that  of  her  provinces ;  we  cannot  read  a  page  of  it 
without  meeting  their  glorious  names,  those  of  her  ancient  geogra- 
phical subdivisions,  so  familiar  to  the  ears  of  our  ancestors,  and  so 
rapidly  being  effaced  from  our  own  minds.  The  French  provinces  appear 
not  only  in  our  own  history  but  in  the  history  of  Europe,  in  the  literature 
of  all  the  peoples  of  the  world ;  some  of  these  provinces  have  conquered 
kingdoms ;  they  reappear  everywhere  except  in  our  own  official  and 
political  language  and  on  our  own  maps,  to  the  inexpressible  astonish- 
ment of  strangers,  but  not  of  ourselves  !  *  This  forgetfulness  is  so  great, 
this  sad  prejudice  so  deeply  rooted  that  it  is  doubtful  whether  France 
could  of  herself  open  her  eyes  to  the  enormity  of  the  injury 
she  has  done  against  herself :  a  cruel  and  deep  wound  which 
perhaps  only  a  firm  will  at  the  summit  of  the  State  can  close  and 
heal.  Come  what  may,  the  glory — a  pure  and  lasting  glory — 
will  be  assured  to  the  prince  who,  without  lessening  the  proper  powers 
of  the  State,  shall  create,  or  rather  re-establish  in  France,  under 
whatever  denomination,  numerous  centres  of  interests,  of  powerful 
action,  and  of  life ;  to  him  who,  like  the  prophet  of  old,  shall  say, 
"Arise!"  to  these  languishing  limbs  of  the  State,  to  these  dry  bones ; 
to  him  who  shall  found  in  various  parts  of  the  empire  firm  institutions, 
natural  protections  of  the  rights  and  interests  of  all,  and,  to  use  the 
words  of  an  illustrious  man,  "capable,  should  they  be  wounded,  of  uttering 
a  loud  and  succour-bringing  cry  of  anguish. ""j" 

But,  as  we  know,  just  as  the  most  solid  ramparts  oppose  but  a  poor  re- 
sistance if  they  have  not  behind  them  disciplined  arms  and  intrepid  hearts, 

*  That  which  I  believe  to  be  desirable  and  practicable  to  save  from  oblivion  the  old 
names  of  our  provinces  exists,  and  has  been  recently  enforced  upon  a  very  important 
point  as  to  territory.  The  names  of  Savoy  and  of  Upper  Savoy  have  been  given  to  two 
new  departments  of  France.  What  danger  can  there  now  be  of  doing  for  the  interior 
of  the  Empire,  and  for  provinces  of  France  centuries  old,  that  which  has  been  done 
without  disadvantage  and  without  fear  for  a  frontier  territory  of  recent  annexation? 

+  Koyer-Collard. 


so  we  see  the  best  institutions  offer  but  a  weak  defence  if  those  who 
possess  them  have  not  the  heart  to  maintain,  and  are  ignorant  how 
to  defend  them  :  they  always  show  themselves  feeble  and  clumsy,  if 
they  be  not  surrounded  by  moral  and  temporal  interests  to  watch  over, 
by  rights  and  liberties  to  demand  or  to  maintain ;  sole  means  by  which 
all  can  be  gradually  brought  to  comprehend  and  to  practise  their  duty 
towards  their  country.  It  is  thus  that  the  men  of  our  workshops  and 
of  our  fields  may  rise  to  a  sense  of  the  public  weal,  above  the  too 
material  occupations  which  at  this  day  absorb,  without  enlarging,  their 

Among  the  rights  and  liberties  which  every  Frenchman  has  an  interest 
in  demanding  or  in  defending,  the  most  sacred  are  those  of  conscience 
and  of  worship.  The  noblest  minds  of  our  time,  belonging  to  parties 
the  most  opposite,  but  alike  animated  by  love  of  country  and  of  wise  pro- 
gress, agree  in  the  view  that  religious  liberty  is  the  root  and  the  mother 
of  the  most  essential  of  the  liberties  of  modern  peoples.  Those  who 
are  free,  and  those  who  aspire  to  become  so  ;  all,  Catholics  or  Pro- 
testants, declare  the  religious  sentiment,  a  firm  Christian  belief,  to  be  the 
grand  foundation  of  the  liberty,  no  less  than  the  prosperity  of  some  of  the 
neighbouring  peoples,  and  the  most  powerful  instrument  for  resisting 
internal  tyranny  or  foreign  oppression.*  My  voice  joins  with  their 
eloquent  voices  in  protesting  against  all  trammels  imposed  upon  the  free 
exercise  of  religious  worship ;  against  maintaining  by  the  edicts  of 
authority,  a  pretended  uniformity  of  belief,  too  often  only  an  apparent 
uniformity,  the  sad  product  of  indifference  or  ignorance,  and  which 
before  long  conducts  a  people  to  the  worst  of  deaths — by  moral  and 
spiritual  atrophy. 

It  imports  very  much  less  whether  men  belong  to  this  or  that  Christian 
community,  than  that  they  hold  in  their  hearts  the  belief  in  God  and  the 
gospel.  The  chief,  the  indispensable  thing  is,  that  they  should  be 
Christians,  and  Christians  by  conviction.  In  vain  during  modern  days, 
so  different  from  antique  times,  shall  we  seek  for  a  free  nation  outside 
Christianity,  a  truth  which  is  comprised  in  the  grand  words  of  De  Tocque- 
ville :  "If  the  people  are  unbelievers,  they  must  be  serfs;  if  they  are 
free,  they  must  be  believers."     No  perils  then  in  liberty  :  in  throwing  off 

*  I  shall  cite  only  three,  because  in  my  eyes  they  are  the  most  eminent  representa- 
tives of  the  three  distinct  religious  tendencies — MM.  de  Montalembert,  de  Pi-essense", 
and  Laboulaye.     All  three  are  unanimous  on  the  point. 


externally  an  illegal  and  tyrannical  yoke,  men  will  retain  for  themselves 
that  of  divine  law,  the  most  lawful  and  most  sacred  of  all  yokes ;  and 
whilst  astonishing  the  world  by  prodigies  of  heroism,  they  will  not  terrify 
it  by  their  crimes.  Servants  of  a  living  God  and  of  the  gospel,  they  will 
accomplish  what  anti- Christian  France  of  the  eighteenth  century  could 
not  achieve.  Should  liberty  be  wanting  to  them,  they  must  conquer 
it,  and  having  conquered  it,  they  must  guard  it. 

Stop  here.  I  thought  that  a  profession  of  principles,  clear  and 
distinct,  would  not  be  out  of  place  at  the  head  of  a  work  wherein  I  have 
endeavoured  to  draw  from  events  a  moral  lesson,  and  to  demonstrate 
under  what  conditions  a  people  acquires  liberty  and  preserves  it.  Of 
these  conditions  some  are  universal  and  immutable,  as  I  have  already 
shown  in  another  work.*  Others  necessarily  vary  according  to  time, 
circumstances,  and  the  genius  of  races.  But  if  it  be  true  that  popular 
liberty  consists  in  a  whole  people  participating  in  the  direction  of  its 
own  affairs,  it  is  but  a  delusion  if  this  participation  be  only  imaginary. 
Popular  liberty  is  only  possible  in  our  vast  modern  states  by  the  voice  of 
representation,  and  we  cannot  have  a  Government  representative  and  free 
save  when  representation  is  sincere  and  thorough. 

The  continued  violation  of  this  vital  condition  of  free  governments 
necessarily  conduces  to  despotism,  or  to  fresh  revolutions  ;  a  formidable 
truth  which  cannot  too  strongly  be  brought  to  light  during  the  present 
period  when  political  liberty  appears  ready  to  take  root  in  France.  I  have 
essayed  this  work,  the  more  difficult  because  of  the  narrow  limits  of  my 
framework.  I  have  done  my  task  without  anger,  most  often  with  sorrow, 
always  with  a  profound  feeling  of  the  duties  of  the  historian,  of  the  dan- 
ger towards  unborn  generations  of  ignoring  the  truth  as  to  contemporary 
times.  It  is  undoubtedly  fitting  that  all  friends  of  the  public  weal, 
to  whatever  party  they  may  formerly  have  belonged,  should  forget  their 
dissensions ;  it  is  good  that  they  should  mutually  pardon  each  other's 
errors  and  defects ;  but  it  is  needful  that  they  institute  a  severe  scrutiny 
of  these  errors  and  defects.  Merely  to  throw  a  convenient  veil  over  the 
past  is  not  to  serve  but  to  compromise  the  cause  of  those  liberties  which 
we  love  and  which  we  have  lost ; — is,  as  I  have  already  stated,  to  bring 
back  that  very  evil  which  has  not  been  able  to  preserve  these  liberties 
from  shipwreck. 

Free    institutions    and    the    great   principles   which  they   represent, 

*  "  Histoire  d'Angleterre  depuis  l'origine  jusqu'a  la  Kevolution  franyaise." 


are  the  highest  expression  of  political  genius  among  the  civilized 
nations  of  modern  Europe.  The  governments  of  the  monarchs  of  the 
stagnant  East,  of  the  Caesars  of  pagan  Eome,  of  Sultans  and  of  Viziers, 
are  the  governments  of  infant  or  decrepit  peoples  steeped  in  ignorance  or 
brutishness.  There  is  nothing  there  to  imitate,  nothing  to  borrow  for  the 
French  nation — a  viril  and  Christian  nation.  The  Prince  who  governs 
France  has  already  many  times  expressed  the  generous  desire  to  increase 
her  franchises.  That  desire  is  sincere.  I  will  never  admit  that  an  able 
Prince,  knowing  his  strength,  and  imbued  with  the  feeling  of  true 
greatness,  would  prefer  the  enjoyment  of  absolute  power  to  the  honour 
of  reigning  over  a  people  truly  free ;.  I  will  not  believe  that  any  monarch 
would  not,  like  one  of  our  old  rulers,  be  more  happy  and  more  proud  to 
command  Freemen  than  Slaves,  Franks  than  Serfs. 

In  extending  my  work  to  a  recent  and  very  celebrated  date,  in 
alluding  to  deep  wounds  still  bleeding,  I  have  not  deceived  myself  as  to 
the  perils  of  the  enterprise.  Warnings  as  to  it  have  not  been  wanting, 
and  friendly  voices  have  been  raised,  telling  me  that  notwithstanding  my 
efforts  to  reconcile  truth  with  the  respect  due  to  character,  to  talent,  and  to 
misfortune,  it  would  be  rashness  in  me  to  display  perhaps  a  wide  diver- 
gence from  men  very  properly  highly  placed  in  public  esteem :  but  their 
acts  belong  to  history,  and  the  time  is  past  when  I  should  be  able  to  pardon 
in  myself  the  apprehensions  of  vulgar  prudence.  I  have  reached  that 
period  of  life  when  duty  is  endowed  in  men's  eyes  with  renewed  authority, 
when  a  single  ambition  is  allowed  to  reside  in  our  souls — that  of  being 
useful  to  mankind.  I  have  but  one  thing  to  ask  from  men,  a  very  great 
thing,  it  is  true,  and  most  difficult  to  obtain  from  them — their  confidence. 

I  ask  it  for  the  historian  very  much  more  than  for  the  work,  necessarily 
imperfect.  What  a  field  for  errors,  indeed,  the  space  of  twenty  cen- 
turies !  But  in  soliciting  the  indulgence  of  the  reader  for  my  faults, 
I  believe  that  I  have  never  given  to  any  one  the  right  to  place  in  doubt 
my  veracity,  my  sincerity  as  a  writer.  If,  notwithstanding  all  my  efforts, 
I  have  not  been  able,  in  touching  upon  a  contemporary  period,  to 
steer  completely  clear  of  reefs  or  rocks,  I  make  bold  to  allege  in 
my  justification  the  grand  and  simple  words  that  have  run  through 
the  centuries,  and  which  every  historian  worthy  of  the  name  should 
carefully  preserve  in  the  depths  of  his  heart — I  believe  ;  that  is  why  I 

have  spoken. 

Emile  de  Bonnechose. 














CHAP.      I.    THE  REIGN  OP  CLOVIS 37 


VINGIANS      46 









THE  PALACE  IN  NEUSTRIA     .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .70 


GOVERNMENT  OF  CHARLES  MARTEL         .  .  .  ,  .  .76 









THE  FAT 109 





MER,  LOTHAIRE,  AND  LOUIS  V.,  CALLED  THE  SLOTHFUL  .     .     .  120 







OF     THE     ROYAL      POWER — CONQUESTS     OF     THE    CROWN — THE      CRUSADES — 



HENRY   I.,  AND   PHILIP   1 142 



HENRY   1 147 

PHILIP  1 149 


LOUIS  VI. 160 

louis  vii 163 



chap.  iv.  eeign  op  philip  ii.,  surnamed  augustus,  and  op  louis  viii.        .  167 

philip  ii. 167 

louis  viii 178 

—  v.  eeign  op  louis  ix.  (saint  louis) 180 

vi.  general    considerations   upon    the  state  of  france,  and  upon 

the  events  which  transpired  during  the  past  three  centu- 
ries, from  the  accession  of  hugh  capet  to  the  death  of 
saint  louis 192 




CHARLES   IV. 207 


PHILIP   IV 210 

louis  x 220 

PHILIP  V. 221 


—  II.    ACCESSION   OF   THE   VALOIS — REIGN   OF   PHILIP   VI.         .  .  .  .    226 

—  III.    REIGN   OF    KING   JOHN 234 


—  V.    REIGN   OF   CHARLES  VI 265 



CHAP.       I.    REIGN    OF    CHARLES   VII 286 

II.    REIGN   OF    LOUIS   XI 306 


—  IV.   REIGN   OF   LOUIS  XII. '  .  .  .  .    332 









CHAP.      I.    REIGN    OF     FRANCIS    I.     UNTIL    THE     SIGNATURE     OF     THE    TREAT!    OF 


II.    COURSE   AND   END    OF   THE   REIGN   OF   FRANCIS   1 356 

—  III.    REIGN   OF   HENRY  II. 372 





CHAP.      I.    REIGNS  OF  FRANCIS  II.    AND   CHARLES  IX.  .  .  .  .  .  382 



—  II.    REIGN  OF   HENRY  III 405 


PROMULGATION   OF   THE   EDICT   OF   NANTES       .....    423 
HENRY   IV 423 

—  IV.   FROM     THE     PEACE     OF     VERVINS     TO     THE     END    OF     THE    REIGN    OF 

HENRY  IV 439 





The  vast  territory  contained  between  the  Rhine,  the  Alps,  the 
Pyrenees,  and  the  Ocean,  and  which  is  now  almost  entirely  known 
as  France,  originally  bore  the  name  of  Gaul.  In  the  most  remote 
periods  it  was  occnpied  by  the  Celtic  race  of  the  Gaels  and  by  the 
Iberians.  The  Gaels  formed  the  basis  of  the  Gallic  population,  and 
drove  the  Iberians  back  into  Spain.  Still,  the  latter  people  did  not 
entirely  disappear  from  the  soil  of  France,  but  partly  occupied  some 
southern  countries,  under  the  name  of  Aquitanians  or  Ligurians. 

The  Phoceans,  a  people  of  Greece,  eventually  formed  important 
establishments  in  the  south  of  Gaul ;  and  one  of  their  colonies  founded 
the  city  of  Marseilles,  or  Massalia. 

Another  nation,  that  of  the  Kymrys,*  made  an  irruption  into  Gaul 
about  three  centuries  B.C.,  the  greater  part  of  them  settling  between 
the  Seine  and  the  German  Ocean.  These  Kymrys  are  identical 
with  the  Belgas  or  Belgs  mentioned  by  Caesar,  to  whom  he  attri- 
butes   a    German    origin.      A    portion    of  the    Kymrys    went    even 

*  The  Kymrys  are  generally  confounded  with  the  Cimbri.  This  opinion  has  recently 
met  with  learned  contradictors  ;  one  of' whom,  M.  Roget  de  Belloquet,  in  his  "Gallic 
Glossary,"  an  introduction  to  his  "  Gallic  Ethnology,"  regards  the  Kymrys  as  closely 
related  with  the  Gaels,  and  considers  the  Cimbri  as  an  entirely  different  and  essentially 
Germanic  nation. 


farther,  and  established  themselves  upon  the  seaboard  as  far  as  the 
month  of  the  Loire,  where  they  received  the  name  of  Armoricans,  or 
maritime  races.  All  these  tribes  are  indistinctly  designated  in  history 
by  the  name  of  Grauls.  They  were  generally  distinguished  for  frank- 
ness, courage,  and  generosity  :  they  were  hospitable,  but  intemperate ; 
fond  of  sumptuous  repasts,  and  ready  for  quarrels,  which  frequently 
ensanguined  their  banquets.  They  were  divided  into  a  multitude  of 
smaller  tribes  or  clans,  constantly  engaged  in  war  with  each  other. 

The  Grauls  originally  adored  the  material  forces  of  nature,  thunder, 
the  winds,  and  the  planets  ;  but  as  they  advanced  in  civilization  they 
•worshipped  the  moral  powers,  and  deified  the  virtues  and  the  arts. 
Their  best-known  divinities  are,  Hesus,  the  genius  of  war ;  Teutates, 
the  god  of  commerce  and  inventor  of  the  arts ;  and  Oginius,  the  god 
of  eloquence  and  poetry. 

Their  priests,  called  Druids,  were  divided  into  three  orders :  the 
druids,  properly  so  called,  who  were  the  interpreters  of  the  laws, 
instructors  of  youth,  and  judges  of  the  people ;  next,  the  vates,  or 
ovates,  intrusted  with  the  divinations  and  sacrifices  ;  and,  lastly  the 
hards,  who  preserved  in  their  songs  the  reminiscences  of  national  tradi- 
tions, which  they  were  forbidden  to  record  in  writing,  and  the  exploits 
of  their  heroes. 

The  priesthood  was  hierarchical,  and  had  as  its  head  a  sole  chief 
elected  for  life,  whose  power  was  unbounded.  The  ovates  and  bards 
lived  in  public  as  members  of  the  community ;  but  the  druids  of  the 
first  class  dwelt  together  in  profound  retreats,  where  they  initiated  into 
their  mysteries  and  sciences  the  young  disciples  who  aspired  to  the 
sacred  functions.  The  novitiate  was  painful,  and  sometimes  lasted 
twenty  years  ;  but  the  great  privileges  attaching  to  the  druids,  their 
exemption  from  taxation,  the  respect  shown  to  them,  and  the  authority 
they  exercised,  concurred  to  attract  numerous  disciples.  Their  books 
and  precepts  were  composed  in  verse,  "and  were  learned  by  heart ;  for  it 
was  an  invariable  rule  with  them  that  no  law  should  be  recorded  in 
writing.  They  taught  the  immortality  of  souls,  and  their  perpetual 
transmigration,  until  they  deserved  admission  to  the  celestial  mansions. 
They  were  versed  in  natural  philosophy.  Cassar,  in  his  "  Commentaries 
on  the  Gallic  War,"  tells  us  that  they  instructed  youth  in  the  movements 
of  the  stars  and  the  grandeur  of  the  universe,  as  well  as  in  the  nature 


of  things  and  the  power  of  the  immortal  gods,  the  most  revered  of 
whom  was  Mercury,  inventor  of  all  the  arts,  guide  of  travellers,  and 
protector  of  commerce. 

There  were  among  them  druidesses,  or  females  affiliated  to  their 
order,  some  of  whom  adhered  to  celibacy.  These  women  were  the 
object  of  great  veneration :  they  were  supposed  to  have  a  foreknowledge 
of  events,  and  were  said  to  be  endowed  with  the  gift  of  curing 
diseases  and  commanding  the  elements. 

At  certain  periods  of  the  year,  and  on  all  solemn  occasions,  the  druids 
made  sacrifices,  offering  to  the  gods  the  fruits  of  the  earth,  domestic 
animals,  and  human  victims.  They  believed,  with  the  majority  of  the 
ancient  nations,  that  human  life  could  alone  be  ransomed  by  that  of 
their  fellow-men,  and  that  the  offering  most  agreeable  to  the  gods  was 
the  blood  of  criminals.  They  also  sacrificed  prisoners  of  war  ;  and, 
in  default  of  culprits  or  captives,  a  victim  was  designated  by  lot  : 
frequently,  too,  men  devoted  themselves  in  order  to  appease  the  wrath 
of  the  gods.  The  sacrifices  were  effected  either  by  fire,  which  con- 
sumed wicker-work  monsters  in  which  the  priests  enclosed  the  victims 
or  by  the  swordr  upon  large  stones  hollowed  out  on  the  surface,  and 
which,  laid  horizontally  on  other  stones  placed  in  a  vertical  position, 
formed  altars  called  dolmans.  A  great  number  of  these  are  still  in 
existence,  and  clumsy  representations  of  trees  and  animals  may  be 
seen  carved  on  them.* 

The  druids  attributed  a  medical  and  magical  virtue  to  vervain, 
snakes'  eggs,  and,  above  all,  to  mistletoe,  which  they  plucked  with 
mysterious  ceremonies  from  oaks,  trees  regarded  by  them  as  being 
under  the  special  protection  of  the  gods.  They  had  their  retreats 
and  principal  sanctuaries  in  the  depths  of  gloomy  forests,  where  no 
one  was  allowed  to  fell  or  lop  wood.  The  people  believed  these  sacred 
retreats  inaccessible  to  wild  animals,  impenetrable  by  the  storm,  and 
protected  from  lightning :  the  ground  in  them,  it  was  said,  trembled, 
and  abysses   opened,  from  whence   darted  snakes  that  clung  to   the 

*  In  some  parts  of  France,  and  especially  in  the  west,  other  druidic  monuments  are 
found  called  pentvans  or  mencheis  ;  they  are  enormous  blocks  of  uncut  stones,  set  up 
either  separately,  or  arranged  in  several  rows  in  avenues,  as  at  Carnac,  where  they  form 
eleven  parallel  lines  covering  an  immense  extent  of  ground.  A  third  variety  of  druidic 
monuments  consists  of  tumuli,  ,or  conical  mounds  of  earth  surmounting  a  tomb. 

E   2 

4  GAUL  BEFORE  THE  ROMAN  CONQUEST.  [Introduction 

trees,  which  bent  and  straightened  of  their  own  accord,  while  the 
whole  forest  sparkled  with  fires.  The  druids  kept  in  these  forests  the 
military  standards,  to  which  they  alone  had  access ;  and  it  is  recorded 
that  they  were  themselves  not  uninfluenced  by  terror  on  entering  them. 
The  power  exercised  by  the  druids  was  not  solely  religious,  but 
political  and  social,  for  they  were  at  the  same  time  priests  and 
magistrates.  At  a  solemn  assembly  held  twice  a  year  on  the  frontier 
of  the  country  of  the  Carnutes  (pays  Ohartrain),  which  was  reputed 
to  be  the  central  point  of  Gaul,  they  delivered  judgment  and  had 
cognizance  of  nearly  all  public  and  private  disputes.  If  any  crime  was 
committed,  or  a  quarrel  ensued  about  an  inheritance,  they  decided  it ; 
and  to  them  also  belonged  the  right  of  rewarding  and  punishing.  The 
most  formidable  punishment  was  the  interdict,  and  they  pronounced 
it  against  any  man  who  proved  rebellious  or  indocile  to  them.  Those 
whom  the  druids  had  interdicted  from  sacrificing  were  placed  in  the 
ranks  of  criminals,  any  appeal  to  justice  was  closed  to  them,  and  they 
were  shunned  as  though  afflicted  with  a  contagious  disease. 

Among  the   Gauls    each  tribe  had,  at  the   first,  its    special  chief, 

who  ordinarily  assumed  the  title   of   king.      These   princes,  almost 

absolute  in  war,  were  during  peace  subject,  like  the  rest  of  the  nation, 

to  the   despotic  authority  of  the  priests,  who  were  for  a  lengthened 

period  omnipotent  in  Gaul.     Each  tribe  had  also  a  species  of  military 

equestrian  corps,  composed  of  nobles  or  knights.     Around  these,  men 

assembled — persons  of  free  though  inferior  condition,  who  selected  from 

-  among  the  nobles  a  defender  or  patron,  to  whom  they  attached  them- 

:  selves.     They  escorted  him  everywhere,  followed  him  to  the  wars,  and, 

in  exchange  for  the  protection  and  rewards  they  awaited  at  his  hands, 

•  devoted  themselves  to  his  person,  even  more  than  to  his  fortune,  and 

were  ready  to  die  or  live  for  him.     The  rank  of  a  noble  or  knight  was 

^estimated  by  the    number  of  followers  who  formed  his  escort.     The 

\mass  of  the  population  had  no  participation  in  public  affairs,  save  in 

revolutions  caused  by  the  rivalry  of  the  knights,  priests,  and  nobles, 

which  were  as  frequent  as  the  quarrels  and  wars  between  the  various 

tribes.     Still,   in  spite  of    these  clannish   feuds,   the    sentiment  of  a 

common   nationality  existed  among   the  Gauls;  and  at  certain  periods 

deputies  from  all  the  tribes  assembled  to  watch  together  over  the 

interests  of  the  whole  community. 


It  was  impossible  for  the  numerous  tribes,  which  were  more 
occupied  with  war  than  with  the  cultivation  of  the  soil,  to  find 
sufficient  resources  among  themselves.  Several  of  them  emigrated 
en  masse.  Countless  hordes  left  Gaul  at  different  epochs  and  spread 
over  the  adjacent  countries  and  even  remote  lands,  which  they  ra- 
vaged, and  where  they  went  to  conquer  a  new  country.  Among  the 
causes  which  produced  these  migrations,  the  chief,  next  to  want  of 
food,  was  the  temper  of  the  Gauls,  to  whom  repose  was  disagreeable, 
and  who,  rather  than  remain  at  home  in  peace,  entered  the  military 
service  of  foreign  nations.*  Frequently,  too,  the  tribes  conquered  in 
civil  discords,  abandoned  their  country,  and  sought  fortune  far  away. 

There  arose  in  various  parts  of  the  world,  nations  originating  in 
Gallic  colonies  :  one  of  these,  in  Spain,  formed,  by  fusion  with  the 
natives,  the  celebrated  nation  of  the  Celtiberians,  who  offered  the 
most  strenuous  resistance  to  the  Roman  invasion ;  and  others  settled 
in  different  points  of  Great  Britain,  peopling,  in  the  course  of  time, 
the  entire  southern  seaboard  of  that  island.  The  Gauls  also  burst 
into  Italy  on  several  occasions ;  one  of  their  tribes,  the  Umbrians, 
invading  that  country  about  fourteen  centuries  B.C.  and  establishing" 
themselves  in  that  portion  to  which  the  name  of  Umbria  has  adhered. 
Eight  centuries  later  (590  B.C.)  two  brothers,  Bellovisus  and  Sigovisus, 
nephews  of  a  celebrated  king  of  the  Bituriges  (inhabitants  of  Berri), 
each  directed  the  flood  of  a  formidable  invasion,  one  in  Italy,  the 
other  in  Germany.  The  army  of  Bellovisus  crossed  the  Alps,  being- 
attracted,  so  it  is  said,  by  the  delicious  fruits  of  the  south ;  invaded- 
the  country  to  the  north  of  the  Po,  and  founded  Milan.  Fresh- 
swarms  of  Gauls  came  one  after  the  other  to  settle  in  the  entire 
northern  part  of  Italy,  to  which  the  Romans  gave  the  name  of  Gallia 
Cisalpina  (or  Gaul  on  their  side  of  the  Alps).  The  principal  nations 
that  emanated  from  these  various  immigrations  were — to  the  north  of" 
the  Po,  the  Insubri  and  Cenomani,  and,  to  the  south  of  that  river,  the 
Boieni,  Lingones,  and  Senones.  The  last,  in  the  year  390  B.C.,  de- 
scended southward,  encountered  and  defeated  a  Roman  army  on  the 
banks  of  the  Allia,  captured  Rome,  and  attacked  the  Capitol.     While 

*  The  kings    of   Egypt,  Macedonia,    Epirus,   Carthage,  Syracuse,  and  the  monarchs 
of  Asia,  paid  a  heavy  price  for  the  help  of  the  Gauls,  whose  bravery  iWas  so  highly  - 
esteemed  that  it  was  thought  impossible  to  have  a  good  army  without  them. 


Italy  was  thus  a  prey  of  the  Gauls,  Germany  was  also  troubled  by 
them.  Those  who  followed  Sigovisus  penetrated  as  far  as  Pannonia, 
between  the  Danube  and  the  Save,  whence,  at  a  later  date,  fresh  bands 
rushed  like  a  torrent  over  Macedonia  and  Greece.  Other  Gauls 
founded  a  colony  in  Thra  ,  and  then  invaded  Asia  Minor,  where 
they  established  themselves  under  the  name  of  Galatians.  "  Gaul," 
says  Etienne  Pasquine,  "like  a  large  tree,  thus  extended  its  branches 
for  a  long  distance,  and  the  terror  of  the  Gallic  name  spread  over 
all  the  countries  of  the  universe." 

What  Tacitus  said  of  the  Britons  might  equally  be  said  of  the 
Gauls  :  if  they  had  been  united,  they  would  have  been  invincible. 
But  we  have  seen  how  perpetual  wars  affected  the  interests  of  the 
numerous  tribes  or  clans.  They  formed  great  and  powerful  confedera- 
tions among  themselves  for  the  common  defence ;  but  war  was 
waged  among  these  confederations  in  the  same  way  as  among  the 
separate  tribes ;  and  the  Romans  ever  had  the  art  of  securing  the 
support  of  one  to  crush  the  other.  They  did  not  venture  across 
the  Alps  till  they  had  subjugated  Cisalpine  Gaul ;  and  they  awaited 
a  favourable  occasion  to  extend  their  conquest  further.  They  were 
in  this  matter  powerfully  seconded,  not  only  by  the  war  which 
the  numerous  Gallic  tribes  waged  against  each  other,  but  also  by 
the  civil  troubles  and  internal  dissensions  between  the  various  classes. 
About  three  centuries  before  the  Christian  era,  the  royal  government 
was  abolished  in  most  of  the  cities  of  Gaul,  in  the  midst  of  sanguin- 
ary revolutions :  the  warriors  and  the  druids  disputed  the  authority, 
and  the  whole  of  Gaul  was  weakened  by  their  divisions. 

This  intestine  contest  was  still  going  on  when,  a  century  and  a  half 
before  the  Christian  era,  the  Greek  inhabitants  of  Massalia  (Marseilles) 
invoked  the  assistance  of  Borne  against  the  enterprises  of  some 
Gallic  tribes  in  the  vicinity.  The  Bomans  responded  to  this  appeal ; 
and,  after  conquering  the  Gauls,  gave  their  territory  to  the  city  they 
had  succoured.  Thirty  years  later,  summoned  by  the  Massaliotes 
against  a  neighbouring  Gallic  nation,  the  Salic  Ligurians,  the  Bomans 
were  again  victorious ;  but  on  this  occasion  tthey  retained  a  portion 
of  the  conquered  territory,  and  built,  to  the  north  of  Massalia,  a  city 
originally  called  Aqua?  Sextse,  which  is,  at  the  present  day,  Aix,  the 
most  ancient  Roman  colony  founded  in  Gaul  (b.c.  123).     Eventually, 


the  Romans,  taking  advantage  of  disputes  which  had  broken  out 
between  the  confederation  of  the  Hsedui  and  that  of  the  Allobroges 
and  Arverni,  gained  two  great  victories  over  them  under  the  leadership 
of  the  consul  Fabius.  The  second  battle  was  fought  near  the  Rhone, 
and  was  one  of  the  most  sanguinary  recorded  in  history :  one  hundred 
and  twenty  thousand  Gauls  are  said  to  have  lost  their  lives,  either  in 
the  waters  of  the  river,  or  by  the  sword  of  the  conquerors.  A  portion 
of  the  country  of  the  Allobroges  (Dauphine)  was  reduced  to  a  Roman 
province,  as  was  the  entire  seaboard  of  the  Mediterranean  as  far  as 
the  Pyrenees.* 

The  Romans  founded  there,  118  B.C.,  a  celebrated  colony,  that  of 
Narbonne,  and  gave  the  name  of  JSTarbonensis  to  the  vast  and  splendid 
province  which  they  formed  in  the  south  of  Gaul.  For  this  name 
that  of  Septimania  was  eventually  substituted  for  the  country  situated 
between  the  Pyrenees  and  the  Rhone ;  the  territory  contained  between 
the  latter  river  and  the  Alps  alone  retaining  the  name  of  Province 
or  Provence. 

The  Romans  did  not  cross  the  limits  of  the  colony  until  about  the 
middle  of  the  first  century  B.C.  They  had  in  the  interval  to  repulse 
a  formidable  invasion,  that  of  the  Teutons,  who  rushed,  like  a  torrent 
which  had  overflowed  its  bed,  over  the  Narbonensis.  Marius  exter- 
minated the  invaders  in  the  year  102,  near  the  city  of  Aix.  Forty 
years  later,  Julius  Caesar  appeared,  and  sought  to  acquire,  by  con- 
quering Gaul  at  the  head  of  the  Roman  legions,  a  sufficient  title  to 
reduce  Rome  herself  to  serfdom. 

*With  the  Romans,  that  portion  of  the  Transalpine  whose  conquest  preceded  the 
arrival  of  Caesar  in  Gfaul,  was  the  Province.  Hence  their  authors  are  frequently  found 
■designating  it  "by  the  name  Provincia.  At  a  later  date  the  epithet  of  Narbonensis 
was  added,  when  Narbonne  had  become  its  chief  city.  From  the  Latin  Provincia  is 
derived  Provence,  which  title,  before  it  was  restricted  to  that  portion  of  the  French 
territory  which  still  retains  the  name,  spread  for  a  long  time  over  the  whole  of 
France.  Sometimes  the  province  was  called  by  the  name  of  Gallia  braccata — 
derived  from  the  breeches,  in  Latin  braccce,  which  the  inhabitants  wore  ;  and  also  in 
opposition  to  the  Cisalpine,  where  the  Roman  garment,  the  toga,  was  adopted  at  an 
early  period,  whence  the  Province  obtained  the  name  of  Gallia  togata.  That  part  of 
Transalpine  Graul  which  still  retained  its  independence  was  called  Hairy  Gaul,  or  Gallia 
comata,  the  various  tribes  being  remarkable  for  their  long  hair,  while  the  inhabitants  of 
the  Province  wore  theirs  short,  after  the  Roman  fashion.  (Courgeon,  "  Recite  de 
VHistoire  de  France"  vol.  i.,  p.  43,  note  1.) 




In  his  immortal  work,  the  "  Commentaries,"  Caesar  has  himself  drawn, 
the  picture  of  the  country,  at  the  period  when  he  arrived  in  it  as  Pro- 
consul. "The  whole  of  Gaul,"  he  says,  "is  divided  into  three  parts, 
of  which  one  is  inhabited  by  the  Belgae,  another  by  Aquitani,  and  the 
third  by  those  whom  we  call,  at  Rome,  Galli,  and  who,  in  their  lan- 
guage, call  themselves  Celti.  These  nations  differ  from  each  other  in 
language,  manners,  and  laws.  The  Gauls  (Celts)  are  separated  from 
the  Aquitanians  by  the  Garonne,  from  the  Belgians  by  the  Marne  and 
the  Seine.  The  Belgse  are  the  bravest  of  all  these  tribes ;  strangers 
to  the  elegant  manners  and  civilization  of  the  Roman  Province,  they 
do  not  receive  from  external  trade  those  products  of  luxury  which 
enervate  courage ;  and,  moreover,  as  neighbours  of  the  Germans  who 
live  on  the  other  bank  of  the  Rhine,  they  are  continually  at  war  with 
each  other. 

"  The  part  inhabited  by  the  Gauls  (Celts)  begins  at  the  Rhone, 
and  has  for  its  boundaries  the  Garonne,  the  ocean,  and  the  country  of 
the  Belgee ;  it  also  extends  as  far  as  the  Rhine  on  the  side  of  the 
Helvetii  (Swiss)  and  Sequani  (Franche  Comte)  ;  it  is  situated  in  the 
north.  The  country  of  the  Belgae  begins  at  the  extreme  frontier  of 
Gaul,  and  is  bounded  by  the  lower  part  of  the  course  of  the  Rhine  ;  its 
position  is  in  the  north-east.  Aquitania  is  bounded  by  the  Garonne, 
the  Pyrenees,  and  the  ocean." 

These  three  great  nations  were  divided,  as  we  have  already  seen,  into 
a  multitude  of  independent  states,  in  the  majority  of  which  royalty 
had  been  abolished  for  the  last  three  centuries,  and  which  were 
governed  by  an  aristocratic  assembly,  called  by  the  Romans  the 
Senate,  in  which  two  factions  disputed  the  power.  One  of  the 
most  frequent  causes  of  discord  was  the  choice  of  alliances  which 
it  was  necessary  to  make,  in  the  midst  of  the  general  conflagration 
frequently  produced  by  the  rivalry  of  two  tribes.  "  In  Gaul,"  says 
Caesar,  "  each  town,  each  canton,  and  nearly  each  family,  is 
divided  into  factions :  before  the  entrance  of  the  Roman  legions 
into   Gaul,  .some  inclined  to  the  Hsedui,  and  others  to  the  Sequani. 

II.]  CONQUEST   OF    GAUL   BY   C^SAR.  9 

The  latter,  too  weak  of  themselves,  because  the  principal  authority- 
had  been  for  a  long  time  in  the  hands  of  the  Haedui  who  possessed 
the  largest  number  of  supporters,  had  united  with  Ariovistus,  king  01 
the  Germans,  whom  they  attached  to  them  by  presents  and  promises. 
Victors  in  several  battles,  in  which  they  destroyed  the  whole  of  the 
Haeduan  nobility,  the  Sequani  acquired  so  much  power,  that  a  great 
number  of  tribes,  formerly  allied  to  the  Haedui,  went  over  to  their  side. 
They  took  away  as  hostages  the  sons  of  the  chief  citizens,  imposed  on 
the  nation  the  oath  to  undertake  nothing  against  them,  seized  that 
portion  of  the  territory  conquered  by  their  armies,  and  obtained  the 
preponderance  through  the  whole  of  Gaul."  Such  was  the  internal 
state  of  the  country  when  Caesar  appeared  there. 

The  future  conqueror  first  displayed  himself  to  the  Gallic  nations  in 
the  character  of  a  protector.  They  were  menaced  by  a  formidable 
invasion.  Three  hundred  thousand  Helvetians,  after  burning  their 
own  towns,  and  ruining  their  own  fields,  so  as  to  destroy  all  hope 
of  return,  had  just  invaded  the  country  of  the  Sequani  and  the 
Haedui.  These  innumerable  hordes  had  already  commenced  an 
attack  on  the  neighbouring  Allobroges,  when,  summoned  by  these 
nations,  Caesar  hurried  up  at  the  head  of  his  legions,  defeated  the 
Helvetians  in  three  sanguinary  engagements,  and  drove  them  beyond 
the  Jura,  into  the  deserts  they  had  themselves  produced.  Deputies 
from  nearly  the  whole  of  Gaul  (Celtica)  afterwards  came  to  congratu- 
late the  victorious  hero. 

Some  time  later,  after  the  general  assembly  of  the  Gauls  had 
been  convened,  the  same  citizens  returned  to  Caesar ;  and,  throwing 
themselves  at  his  feet,  conjured  him  to  deliver  them  from  Ariovistus 
and  his  Germans,  who,  called  in  by  the  imprudent  Sequani,  were  now 
oppressing  their  own  allies  and  the  whole  of  trembling  Gaul.  Caesar 
alone  could  save  the  country  from  an  impending  and  cruel  servitude. 
The  Proconsul  responded  to  their  appeal  and  marched  against  the 
terrible  Ariovistus.  The  Germans  were  defeated,  and  the  debris  of 
their  dispersed  army  only  halted  on  the  banks  of  the  Rhine,  twenty 
leagues  from  the  field  of  battle.  This  was  Caesar's  first  campaign 
in  Gaul. 

The  domination  of  the  Germans  was  succeeded  by  that  of  the 
Homans;    Caesar  imposed  his  will  on  the  country ;  and  the  Gauls  (Celts) 


soon   perceived   that  they   had   given   themselves   a   master   in   this 
formidable  auxiliary.    They  desired  a  change,  some  through  patriotism, 
others  through  inconstancy  and  levity  of  character. #     They  applied  to 
the  Belga3  to  deliver  them  from  the  Romans,   just  as  they  had,  in 
the  previous  year,  called  the  latter  to  help  them  against  the  Germans. 
The  Belgians  entered  into  a  league  :  but  Ca3sar  had  made  an  alliance 
with  one  of  their  most  important  tribes,  the  Remi ;    and,  introduced 
by  them  into  the  heart  of  Belgium,   he  crushed   the  confederates  on 
the  banks  of  the  Aisne  with  a  frightful  carnage,    and   then  exter- 
minated the  Meroii   (people  of  Hainault),  beyond  the  Sambre.      Of 
60,000  combatants  scarce   500  escaped,  and  the  name  of   the  nation 
disappeared.     The  Adriatici  (a  people  encamped  between  the  Sambre 
and  the  Meuse)    being,    however,    still   in  arms  in   Belgium,   Caesar 
stormed  Mannes,  their  principal  town,  massacred  a  part  of  its  defenders, 
and  reduced  the  rest  to  servitude,  no  less  than  53,000  prisoners  being 
sold  as   slaves.     His  lieutenant,   Crassus,  next  subjugated  Armorica. 
Caesar  had   only  appeared,  and  already  the  whole   of   Gaul   seemed 
conquered.     At  the  news  of  this  extraordinary  success,  fifteen  days' 
rejoicings  were  decreed  at  Rome. 

But  the  resolutions  of  the  Gauls  were  prompt  and  unforeseen.  In 
the  following  year  (56  B.C.)  Caesar,  who  was  then  in  Illyria,  learned 
that  the  tribes  of  Armorica  were  holding  as  prisoners  the  military 
tribunes  who  had  gone  among  them  as  friends  to  procure  provisions 
for  the  seventh  legion,  which  was  in  winter  quarters  in  the  territory 
of  the  Andes  (Augenvins).  The  Veneti,f  reassured  by  the  situations 
of  their  towns,  which  were  inaccessible  by  land  and  defended  by 
an  internal  sea  (the  gulf  of  Morbihan),  with  whose  ports,  isles, 
and  shoals  the  Romans  were  unacquainted,  had  given  the  signal; 
and  their  neighbours  at  once  imitated  them :  the  Britons,  inhabiting 

*  Commentaries  (Book  ii.).  Caesar  frequently  dwells  on  these  traits  of  the  Gallic 
character.  "It  is  the  custom  in  Gaul,"  he  writes,  "to  compel  travellers  to  stop, 
in  order  to  interrogate  them  about  what  they  know  or  what  they  have  heard  said. 
In  the  towns,  the  people  surround  the  merchants,  question  them  about  the  countries 
whence  they  came,  and  urge  them  to  tell  what  they  have  learnt.  It  is  on  such  rumour 
and  reports  that  they  frequently  decide  the  most  important  matters  ;  and  they  do  not 
fail  to  repent  of  having  thus  put  faith  in  uncertain  news,  which  is  frequently  invented 
to  please  them. " 

f  Tribes  of  Morbihan  whose  capital  was  Dariorigum,  at  the  present  day  Vannes. 

II.]  CONQUEST    OF   GAUL   BY   C^SAK.  11 

the  island  of  Britain,  also  promised  them  assistance.  Caesar  there- 
upon marched  up  from  Illyria ;  and,  although  the  Romans  were 
almost  strangers  to  the  navigation  of  the  ocean,  a  fleet  was  built  by 
his  orders  at  the  mouth  of  the  Loire.  Thus  prepared,  the  Romans 
attacked  the  enemy's  fleet,  and  captured  most  of  their  ships,  by 
boarding  them  :  a  calm  that  set  in  compelled  the  rest  to  surrender. 
The  most  distinguished  of  the  warriors  were  put  to  death ;  and  Caesar, 
entering  the  capital  as  an  irritated  victor,  caused  the  senators  to 
be  killed  by  way  of  example,  and  sold  the  whole  of  the  conquered 
population  by  auction.  While  he  was  thus  subjugating  Armorica,  his 
lieutenant  Sabinus  occupied,  after  several  engagements,  all  the  terri- 
tory between  that  country  and  the  Seine  ;  and  Crassus,  being  also 
victorious  in  the  south,  between  the  Loire  and  the  Garonne,  and 
from  the  latter  river  to  the  Pyrenees,  the  whole  of  Gaul  was  again 
conquered,  or  held  in  subjection. 

New  and  innumerable  enemies,  however,  contested  his  conquest  with 
Caesar.  Germany  was  agitated  on  hearing  of  the  disasters  in  Gaul, 
and  400,000  Usipetes  or  Teucteres  crossed  the  Rhine.  Caesar,  in  spite 
of  it  being  winter,  marched  against  these  barbarians,  surprised  and 
checked  them  at  the  confluence  of  the  former  river  and  the  Meuse, 
where  he  exterminated  nearly  the  whole  of  the  horde.  He  then 
crossed  the  Rhine  by  a  bridge,  which  he  constructed  in  ten  days, 
and  descended  the  opposite  bank,  which  point  no  Roman  general  had 
ever  before  reached. 

Caesar  presently  returned  to  Gaul,  and,  proceeding  to  the  sea-coast, 
where  Britain  offered  itself  as  a  prey,  he  resolved  to  invade  that 
island  the  same  year,  either  to  isolate  the  Britons  from  Gaul,  punish 
them  for  the  assistance  they  had  given  the  Yeneti,  or  in  order  to  obtain 
a  further  title  to  the  admiration  of  the  Romans.  He  crossed  the 
straits  with  the  infantry  of  two  legions  only,  and  landed  in  sight 
of  the  enemy  assembled  in  arms  on  the  shore.  The  Romans  gained 
several  battles ;  but  a  tempest  broke  up  and  dispersed  a  portion 
of  their  galleys,  and  drove  ashore  eighteen  vessels,  with  all  their 
cavalry  on  board.  Caesar  had  never  found  himself  in  greater  danger  ; 
-and  never  did  he  display  more  remarkable  daring,  resource,  and  bold- 
ness. He  collected  the  wrecks  of  his  galleys,  and  had  others  built ; 
and,  besieged  in  his   camp    by  the  Britons  whom  his  disaster  had 


encouraged,  he  repulsed  and  pursued  them,  proudly  dictating  peace, 
and  demanding  hostages.  But,  while  speaking  as  an  irritated  master, 
he  was  preparing  to  retreat,  and  soon  after  re-embarked  with  his 

This  precipitate  departure,  in  spite  of  several  victories,  resembled  a 
flight;  and  Caesar  consequently  returned  the  following  year  (b.c.  54), 
with  several  legions  and  a  formidable  fleet,  resolved  to  make  the 
people  of  Britain  fully  feel  the  power  of  Rome  and  his  own.  Sailing 
from  Portus  Itius,*  he  landed  without  impediment,  sought  and 
pursued  the  Britons  into  the  interior  of  the  island,  fomented  divisions 
among  them,  attacked,  defeated,  and  subdued  them :  he  imposed  an 
annual  tribute  on  them,  received  their  hostages,  and  returned  with  a 
multitude  of  captives,  and  without  the  loss  of  a  single  vessel.  Rome 
derived  but  slight  profit  from  these  two  expeditions ;  and  Caesar,  as 
a  great  historian  remarks,  rather  pointed  out  than  gave  Britain  to  his 
successors.  Still,  he  had  attained  his  object,  in  acquiring  the  glory 
which  is  ever  attached  to  distant  enterprises  on  little-known  coasts ; 
and  already  he  had  no  equal  in  the  Roman  world. 

The  Gallic  war,  in  which  up  to  this  time  most  of  the  nations  had 
fought  separately,  appeared  to  be  at  an  end ;  but  they  united,  and 
it  broke  out  again  more  terrible  than  ever.  The  two  chiefs  of  the 
new  confederation,  which  was  first  formed  in  Belgium,  were  Indu- 
ciomarus  of  the  Treviri  (Treves)  and  Ambiorix  the  Eburone  (Liege), 
who  arranged  to  surprise  the  legions  dispersed  in  their  winter 
quarters.  Ambiorix  surprised,  in  a  defile,  a  legion  on  the  march, 
and  exterminated  it.  This  first  success  inflamed  the  warlike  tribes 
of  the  north  (Cambresis  and  Hainault),  and  they  flattered  them- 
selves with  the  hope  of  surprising  a  second  legion,  quartered  in  their 
country  and  commanded  by  Q.  Cicero,  brother  of  the  orator.  On  this- 
occasion  the  Romans  did  not  suffer  themselves  to  be  taken  off  their 
guard ;  but  they  were  shut  up  in  their  entrenched  camp,  which 
was  at  once  closely  invested.  Caesar  was  a  long  way  off,  but  he  im- 
mediately set  out,  and  on  arriving  by  forced  marches,  with  only  7000 
legionaries,  dispersed  the  multitude  of  Gauls,  and  liberated  the  camp. 

*  The  site  of  Itius,  which  was  situated  on  the  seaboard  of  the  country  of  the  Morini 
(Picardy),  is  extremely  uncertain.  Some  "believe  that  it  is  Calais,  others  Mardik.  It  is- 
generally  thought  to  be  the  old  port  of  Wessant,  near  Boulogne. 

jL]  CONQUEST   OF   GAUL   BY   C^JSAR.  13 

Winter   suspended  military  operations,  but   both  sides  prepared  for 
a  new  war. 

So  soon  as  spring  set  in,  Induciomarus,  the  confederate  of  Ambiorix, 
marched  against  Labienus,  who  was  quartered  among  the  Remi ;  but 
the  barbarian  was  defeated  and  his  head  sent  to  the  general.  Caesar 
completely  crushed  the  Treviri ;  and  then,  marching  through  the 
whole  forest  of  Ardennes,  fell  on  the  Eburones.  It  was  necessary  that 
their  chastisement  should  be  terrible.  Caesar  wished  to  destroy  even 
the  name  of  the  guilty  nation  ;  and,  inviting  the  neighbouring  German 
tribes  to  aid  him  in  his  vengeance,  he  left  the  territory  to  the  first 
occupant.  In  a  few  days  this  unfortunate  people  was  annihilated,  and 
the  whole  of  northern  Gaul  appeared,  for  the  time,  pacified.  In  the 
same  year  the  general  assembly  of  the  Gauls,  presided  over  by  Caesar, 
was  held  at  Lutetia,  the  capital  of  the  Parisii. 

Caesar,  however,  only  imperfectly  attained  his  object  by  terrorism. 
So  many  frightful  executions  inflamed  in  the  heart  of  his  enemies 
an  inextinguishable  thirst  for  vengeance,  and  imparted  to  the  con- 
quered the  courage  of  despair.  The  barbarities  committed  in  Belgium 
combined  against  the  Romans  all  the  nations  of  Gaul.  A  young 
Arverucan  (Auvergnat)  chief,  named  Yercingetorix,  was  the  soul  of 
the  general  league.  Elected  king  by  his  fellow-citizens,  he  displayed 
in  the  contest  an  activity,  an  intelligence,  and  a  heroism,  which,  had 
he  been  opposed  to  any  other  than  Caesar,  would  have  sufficed  to 
liberate  his  country. 

The  Proconsul  had  recrossed  the  Alps,  his  legions  were  scattered 
about  Gaul,  the  winter  was  severe,  and  the  snow  impeded  any  com- 
munication between  them :  the  moment  to  shake  off  the  yoke  seemed 
to  have  arrived.  A  solemn  oath,  taken  on  the  collected  standards, 
bound  together  all  the  principal  nations  of  Gaul,  and  the  revolt  com- 
menced with  the  massacre  of  the  Romans  quartered  in  the  city  of 
Getabena,  now  Orleans.  The  news  spread  almost  instantly  to  the 
furthest  extremities  of  Gaul,*  and  nearly  the  whole  country  revolted. 

*  "  The  news  soon  reached  all  the  states  of  Gaul ;  for,  whenever  any  remarkable  event 
occurs,  they  announce  it  to  the  neighbouring  country  by  shouts,  which  are  repeated  from 
one  to  the  other.  Thus  what  had  happened  at  Getabena  at  sunrise  was  known  to  the 
Arvernians  before  the  close  of  the  first  evening,  at  a  distance  of  160  miles." — De  Bella 
Gallico,  b.  vii. 


Yercingetorix  took  possession  of  the  fortified  town  of  Gergovia 
(Clermont),  whence  his  emissaries  spread  among  the  Gallic  tribes, 
announcing  that  the  hour  of  deliverance  had  arrived.  His  appeal  was 
universally  listened  to,  a  supreme  council  was  formed  of  confederate 
deputies,  and  the  chief  command  was  entrusted  to  Yercingetorix,  who 
was  speedily  surrounded  by  a  numerous  and  martial  army.  He 
divided  it  into  two  corps,  sent  one  southward  against  the  Roman 
province,  passed  with  the  other  through  the  country  of  the  Beturiges 
(Berri),  whom  he  induced  to  revolt,  and  prepared  to  attack  the  legions 
scattered  through  Belgium. 

Suddenly  it  was  learned  that  Caesar  had  reappeared  in  Gaul ;  and 
that,  after  securing  the  safety  of  the  Roman  province,  he  had  crossed 
the  snows  of  the  Cevennes,  ancf  was  now  carrying  fire  and  the  sword 
into  Arvernia.  Yercingetorix  turned  back  and  flew  to  the  defence  of 
his  native  country,  where,  however,  he  wished  that  the  Romans 
should  find  only  a  desert.  The  Arverni  themselves  burnt  their  cities 
so  that  they  might  not  fall  into  the  enemy's  hands  :  twenty  towns  were 
thus  destroyed,  and  only  one,  Avaricum  (Bourges),  the  capital  of  the 
Beturiges,  and  one  of  the  handsomest  cities  in  Gaul,  was  spared.  Caesar 
soon  besieged  it,  took  it  by  storm,  and  the  whole  population  was 
murdered  without  distinction  of  sex  or  age.  The  conqueror  next  pro- 
ceeded with  his  whole  army  to  besiege  Grergovia.  Yercingetorix  had 
arrived  under  the  wall  of  the  city  before  him,  and  his  camp  was 
already  set  up  at  the  foot  of  the  ramparts.  Caesar  attacked  it  with 
his  accustomed  vigour ;  but  Yercingetorix  drove  the  Romans  in  dis- 
order into  the  plain,  where  they  were  surrounded,  and  would  have 
been  destroyed,  had  it  not  been  for  the  immortal  tenth  legion,  which 
checked  the  advance  of  the  enemy,  and  enabled  the  fugitives  to 
re-enter  their  lines. 

This  success  inflamed  the  Gauls  with  new  courage.  Caesar,  aban- 
doned by  all  their  tribes  excepting  the  Remi  and  the  Lingones  (in- 
habitants of  Langues),  raised  the  siege  and  retired  beyond  the  Loire  into 
the  country  of  the  Senones  (Sens),  where  four  legions  were  under  the 
command  of  Labienus.  The  two  armies  joined,  and  Caesar,  thus  rein- 
forced, descended  the  valley  of  the  Saone,  in  the  direction  of  the 
Roman  province. 

During  this  period,  a  meeting  took  place  at  Bibracte  (Autun)  of  all 


the  Gallic  nations,  which  by  common  accord  had  accepted  Vercinge- 
torix  as  their  supreme  commander.  Yercingetorix  had  moved  rapidly- 
forward  to  intercept  the  retreat  of  Caesar,  and  came  up  with  him.  The 
principal  strength  of  the  Gallic  army,  consisting  of  cavalry,  was  sent 
against  the  Roman  cavalry ;  but  a  corps  of  Germans  in  the  pay  of 
Caesar  turned  the  enemy's  flank,  and  the  Gallic  cavalry  and  infantry 
were  driven  into  the  river.  With  the  relics  of  his  army  "Vercingetorix 
withdrew  behind  the  walls  of  Alesia,  one  of  the  strongest  places  in 
Gaul,  and  Caesar  immediately  followed  him.* 

The  siege  of  Alesia  is  the  most  memorable  event  in  the  conquest  of 
GauL  Caesar  undertook  it  with  forces  inferior  to  those  of  the  be- 
sieged, and  carried  it  on  in  sight  of  200,000  Gauls,  who  had  hurried 
up  from  all  points  to  succour  the  city,  which,  being  already  closely 
invested,  and  suffering  from  the  horrors  of  famine,  despaired  of  deli- 
verance. The  conqueror  of  Gaul  never  displayed  greater  vigour, 
prudence,  and  genius  than  upon  this  occasion.  Three  deep  lines  of 
gigantic  circumvallated  works,  defended  by  formidable  intrenchments, 
and  innumerable  caltrops  scattered  about  the  trenches,  or  sharp  stakes 
driven  into  the  ground  at  regular  distances,  separated  the  Roman 
camp  from  the  city ;  while  other  lines,  no  less  formidable,  called  lines 
of  countervallation,  were  formed  between  the  camp  and  the  Gallic 
army  outside,  running^for  a  distance  of  14,000  paces.  Notwithstanding 
these  immense  precautions,  the  Roman  camp  was  all  but  surprised, 
being  attacked  simultaneously  by  the  army  of  the  confederates  and 
the  garrison ;  but  Caesar,  everywhere  present,  with  a  clear  head  in 
the  most  extreme  danger,  surveyed  calmly  all  the  points  menaced, 
and,  opposing  extraordinary  efforts  to  those  of  the  Gauls,  repulsed 
their  double  attack.  At  this  moment  the  corps  of  German  horse 
which  he  had  in  his  pay  appeared,  after  making  a  long  detour,  in 
the  rear  of  the  Gallic  army,  and  fiercely  attacked  it  at  the  moment 
when  the  Roman  legions  were  compelling  it  to  retreat.  This  final 
attack,  sudden  and  unforeseen  by  all   but    Caesar,   decided   the   fate 

*  This  town  was  situated  in  the  territory  of  the  Mandubi.  Its  site  is  still  undecided, 
and  the  question  has  given  rise  to  numerous  and  interesting  discussions  among  the 
learned.  Some  believe  they  find  Alesia  in  Alase,  to  the  n  ,rtk  ot  Salins  in  Franche 
Comte,  while  others  place  it  at  Alese-Sanite-Eeine  in  Mouat  Auxcis  in  Burgundy.  The 
latter  opinion  appears  to  us  the  better  founded,  after  a  stm  y  of  the  text  and  of 
topographical  charts. 


of  the  day,  and  that  of  Graul.  A  panic  terror  seized  on  the  conquered, 
who  fled  in  disorder,  and  fell  in  thousands  beneath  the  swords  of  the 
victorious  Romans.  Vercingetorix  and  his  army  were  witnesses  of 
the  defeats  of  those  from  whom  they  expected  their  salvation,  and 
re-entered  the  city,  which  was  left  to  itself,  without  provisions,  and 
incapable  of  prolonging  its  defence. 

Superior  to  his  fortune,  and  even  to  his  victors,  Vercingetorix  sent 
a  deputation  to  Caesar,  surrendering  the  fortress  to  him,  and  offering 
himself  as  a  sacrifice  to  save  his  adherents.  All  the  chiefs,  by  the 
Proconsul's  order,  were  brought  before  him.  Vercingetorix  sur- 
rendered himself.  "Wearing  his  richest  armour,  and  mounted  on  his 
war-charger,  he  went  round  the  tribunal  in  which  the  impassive  Pro- 
consul was  seated,  and,  stopping  in  front  of  the  conqueror,  silently 
threw  his  javelin,  helmet,  and  sword  on  the  ground.  Caesar  was 
pitiless.  The  hero  was  thrown  into  chains  and  taken  to  Rome, 
where  he  languished  in  prison  for  six  years :  he  was  eventually 
brought  forth  to  adorn  the  triumphal  procession  of  Caesar,  and  then 
died  by  the  hand  of  the  executioner. 

Gaul  never  recovered  from  the  great  disaster  it  had  undergone  at 
the  siege  of  Alesia,  when,  represented  by  the  majority  of  its  tribes,  it 
was,  as  it  were,  entirely  conquered  in  one  day.  A  last  campaign 
sufficed  for  Caesar  to  extinguish  the  smouldering  revolt  in  all  parts  of 
the  vast  territory,  and  he  did  so  with  blood.  In  this  way  he  com- 
pletely crushed  the  Beturiges  (inhabitants  of  Berri),  the  Carnutes 
(people  of  the  pays  Chartrain),  and  the  Bellovaci  (people  of  Beau- 
voisis)  :  he  passed  through  the  whole  of  Belgium  as  a  conqueror, 
and  then  returned  south,  grasping  and  pressing  his  vast  prey  in  his 
powerful  hands.  The  last  town  that  resisted  him  was  the  small  fort 
of  Uxellodunum,  in  the  country  of  the  Cadurci  (Quercy),  which  he 
took  by  cutting  off  the  water  supply,  and  barbarously  lopped  off  the 
hands  of  all  its  defenders,  whom  he  sent  away  in  this  state,  as  living 
testimonies  of  his  anger  and  his  vengeance. 

Such  was  the  end  of  this  terrible  war,  during  which,  as  Plutarch 
says,  Caesar,  in  eight  campaigns,  took  by  storm  800  towns,  subjected 
300  tribes,  and  fought  against  3,000,000  men,  of  whom  one-third 
perished  in  the  field  of  battle,  or  were  massacred,  while  another  third 
were  reduced  to  a  state  of  slavery. 


Master  of  Gaul,  which  was  conquered  by  his  arms,  but  whose- 
inhabitants  he  knew  to  be  too  brave  to  be  held  in  slavery  by  rigour,  he* 
resolved  to  win  them  by  entirely  different  conduct,  and  rendered  their 
yoke  easy.  The  country  was  reduced  to  the  state  of  a  Roman 
province,  but  Ccesar  spared  it  confiscations  and  onerous  burdens  :  the- 
cities  preserved  their  government  and  laws,  and  the  tribute  he  imposed 
on  the  conquered  was  paid  under  the  title  of  "military  pay.'* 
Reckoning  on  their  support  for  the  execution  of  his  ambitious  plans, 
he  enrolled  the  best  Gallic  warriors  in  his  legions,  conquered  Rome 
herself  by  their  help,  and  gave  them  in  recompense  riches  and 
honours.     The  Roman  Senate  was  opened  to  the  Gauls.* 



The  Emperor  Augustus,  who  gave  an  organization  to  Gaul,  main- 
tained the  division  of  the  country  into  four  great  provinces,  but  he- 
changed  their  limits,  and  gave  the  name  of  Lyonnese  or  Lugdunensis 
to  Gallia  Celtica,  which  was  restricted  to  the  territoiy  contained  between 
the  Seine,  the  Saone,  and  the  Loire  ;  and  detached  from  it  on  the  east  a 
territory  to  which  he  gave  the  name  of  Sequanensis,  and  joined  to 
Gallia  Belgica.  The  latter,  when  thus  enlarged,  had  for  its  boundaries 
the  Rhine,  the  Seine,  the  Saone,  and  the  Alps.  Aquitania,  hitherto 
enclosed  between  the  Pyrenees  and  the  Garonne,  extended  as  far  as 
the  Loire  ;  and,  lastly,  Gallia  ISTarbonensis  was  comprised  between  the:. 
Mediterranean,  the  Pyrenees,  the  Cevennes,  and  the  Alps.  The  entire- 
country  was,  in  addition,  divided  into  sixty  municipal  circumscriptions, , 
or  cities,  the  principal  of  which,  after  Lyons,  the  seat  of  the  Roman 
government,  were :  Treves,  Autun,  Mmes,  Bordeaux,  ISTarbonne,  Tou- 
louse, Vienne,  and  Aries.  Eventually,  under  Diocletian,  the  Roman 
Empire  was  divided  into  four  great  prefectures  :  that  of  Gaul,  whose 

*  Julius  Cissar  only  admitted  into  the  Roman  Senate  the  principal  citizens  of  Gallia, 
Narbonensis  :  it  was  the  Emperor  Claudian  who,  in  the  year  48,  passed  the  celebrated 
decree  by  which  public  offices  and  the  Senate  were  thrown  open  to  the  inhabitants  of 
Gallia  Comata.  At  a  later  date  the  title  of  Ptoman  citizen  was  given  by  Caracalla  to 
all  the  free  men  of  Gaul  and  the  rest  of  the  Empire,  which  caused  a  contemporary  poet, 
to  say  of  this  Emperor  : — 

"  Urbem  fecisti  quod  prius  orbis  erat." 
(You  have  made  a  city  of  what  was  heretofore  a  world.) 



chief  city  was  Treves,  comprised  three  great  dioceses  of  vicarships, 
Britain,  Spain,  and  Gaul.  The  latter  was  divided. for  the  last  time  at 
the  beginning  of  the  fourth  century,  by  the  Emperor  Gratianus,  into 
17  provinces,  containing  120  cities.  Each  province  was  governed  by 
an  officer  of  the  Empire,  and  the  cities  or  towns  received  from  the 
Romans  their  internal  administration  and  civic  organization:  they 
were,  in  addition,  governed  by  municipal  assemblies,  called  curies,  to 
which  landowners  were  alone  summoned.  Occasionally,  the  deputies  of 
all  the  provinces  met,  but  these  assemblies  never  had  saij  appointed  or 
regular  times  of  meeting,  and  they  fell  into  desuetude. 

Gaul  remained  for  four  centuries  subject  to  the  Romans..  Every- 
thing became  Roman  there :  there  were  knights  and  senators,  and 
the  druids  became  priests  of "  the  Greek  polytheism.  There  was 
indubitably  a  great  difference  between  the  civilization  of  the  Northern 
and  Southern  Gauls ;  but  the  religion,*  the  civil  laws,  the  municipal 
government,  and  administrative  system  of  Rome  prevailed  from  one 
end  of  Gaul  to  the  other.  All  those  who  possessed  politeness,  civiliza-, 
tion,  learning,  or  culture,  piqued  themselves  on  being  Roman.  The 
two  nations  spoke  the  same  language,  and  the  name  of  Gallo-Romans 
bears  testimony  to  their  intimate  fusion.  The  old  national  code  of 
laws  disappeared,  and  in  the  fifth  century  there  was  no  trace  of 
Gallic  institutions  in  Gaul. 

The  Gauls  transferred  to  the  arts  of  peace  that  intelligent  activity 

which  they  had  for  so  many  years  fruitlessly  expended  in  war,  and 

Roman  Gaul  was  for  a  long  time  flourishing.      The  axe  cut  down  the 

druidic  forests,  which  made  way  for  cultivation,  and  numerous  roads 

facilitated    the   progress    of    commerce    and   industry.      New   cities 

were   founded,    and  those    already  in   existence    increased  in  extent 

and  opulence,  rivalling   the  cities   of    Gallia    Narbonensis.      Treves, 

Mayence,    Cologne,    Bordeaux,    grew    and    prospered    through    the 

favour  of  an  advantageous  situation  for  trade  or  war ;  and  Lutetia 

(Paris),    reserved   for   such   great   destinies,    became    the    residence 

of  the  Ceesars.     Most  of  the  Gallic  towns  were  adorned  with  palaces, 

statues,  thermse,  and  triumphal  arches.      At   various   points  of  the 

Gallic  territory  may  still  be  seen  ruins  of  Greek  art,  and  imposing 

#  Augustus  abolished  human  sacrifices,  and  only  granted  the  right  of  citizenship  to 
those  who  abandoned  the  druidic  rites. 


remains  of  aqueducts,  temples,  amphitheatres,  and  other  monuments 
of  Roman  architecture.  Schools,  which  soon  became  nourishing,  were 
established  in  several  cities.  Those  of  Lyons,  Autun,  and  Bordeaux 
acquired  a  great  reputation,  and  produced  grammarians,  orators,  and 
poets  ;  but  nearly  all  who  distinguished  themselves,  and,  among  others, 
the  poets  Valerius  Cato  and  Cornelius  Gallus,*  and  the  orators  Marcus 
Ca3sar  and  Domitius  Afer,  the  master  of  Quinctilian,  who  lived  in  the 
age  of  Augustus,  were  descended  from  the  Roman  colonies  of  Gallia 
Narbonensis.  Eventually,  Gaul  prided  itself  on  having  produced,  in 
the  fourth  century,  the  poet  Ausonius  of  Bordeaux ;  and,  in  the  fifth, 
Rutilius  Numatianus,  and  Sidonius  Apollinarius,  who  was  a  poet  and 
bishop,  and  whose  letters  are  a  precious  heirloom  for  history. 

The  Emperors  imagined  they  had  annihilated  druidism  by  proscribing 
the  druids,  abolishing  their  faith,  and  declaring  all  the  Gallic  gods 
Roman :  but  a  faith  is  not  destroyed  until  another  has  taken  its  place, 
and  the  paganism  of  Rome  had  already  lost  all  power  overmen's  minds. 
What  it  was  unable  to  do,  Christianity  effected;  and  the  last  druidic 
altars  fell  before  the  new  creed  in  the  recesses  of  the  forests.  It  was 
introduced  into  Gaul,  toward  the  middle  of  the  second  century,  by 
some  priests  of  the  Church  of  Smyrna,  whom  the  Bishop  St.  Poly- 
carp,  a  disciple  of  the  Apostle  St.  John,  sent  to  preach  the  Gospel 
in  the  Transalpine  countries,  placing  at  their  head  the  illustrious 
Pothinus,  first  Bishop  of  Lyons.  The  pious  missionaries  settled  in 
the  latter  city  about  the  year  160,  and  diffused  there  the  light  of  the 

But  Rome,  while  introducing  her  civilization  into  Gaul,  had,  at  the 
same  time,  introduced  her  dissolute  manners  and  sanguinary  spectacles^ 
dear  to  the  multitude,  but  against  which  the  Christians  forcibly  pro- 
tested by  their  language  and  example.  They  had  thus  the  whole  of 
Pagan  society  hostile  to  them;  and,  amid  the  bloodthirsty  perse- 
cutions ordered  by  the  Emperors,  no  country  counted  more  heroic 
martyrs  than  Gaul,  and  no  Church  was  more  fertilized,  by  their  blood 
than  that  of  Lyons.  The  persecuting  edict  issued  by  Marcus  Aurelius 
against  the  Christians  produced  the  woes  of  that  Church  and  its  glory. 
The  Bishop  Pothinus,  ninety  years  of  age,  was  stoned  by  the  people, 

*  Valerius  Cato,  grammarian  and  poet,  was  surnamed  the  Latin  Siren.  Cornelius 
Gallus,  an  elegiac  poet,  was  the  friend  of  Virgil  and  Augustus. 

c  2 

20  GAUL  UNDER  THE   KOMAN  DOMINATION.  [Introduction 

and  died  of  his  wounds ;  forty-seven  confessors  perished  in  the  midst  of 
torments,  at  the  hands  of  the  executioner,  or  were  rent  asunder  by  wild 
beasts.*  St.  Irenaeus,  surnamed  the  Light  of  the  "West,  collected  at  a 
later  date  the  dispersed  members  of  the  Church  of  Lyons,  and  the 
word  of  Christ  was  borne  into  the  rest  of  Gaul,  toward  the  middle 
of  the  third  century,  by  seven  pious  bishops,  who,  leaving  Rome  for  the 
most  glorious  of  conquests,  proceeded  to  various  points  of  the  Gallic 
territory,  and  all  of  them  acquired  the  crown  of  martyrdom.  Among 
these  the  most  celebrated  was  St.  Denis,  who  halted  on  the  banks  of 
the  Seine  at  Lutetia :  he  was  decapitated  near  that  city  on  the  Hill  of 
Mars  (Montmartre),  and  interred  in  the  plain  which  still  bears  his 
name.  The  work  of  these  holy  confessors  was  successfully  resumed 
in  the  fourth  century  by  St.  Hilarius,  Bishop  of  Poitiers,  and  by  St. 
Martin  of  Tours,  whose  words  fructified  in  the  west  and  centre  of 
Gaul,  where  Christianity,  as  everywhere  else,  was  propagated  by  the 
very  efforts  intended  to  annihilate  it. 

Gaul,  subdued  by  the  civilization  of  Rome  as  much  as  by  her  arms, 
was,  under  the  first  Emperors,  tranquil  and  resigned.  A  few  daring 
chiefs,  such  as  Julius  Floras  in  Belgium,  and  Sacrovir  in  the  Lyon- 
nese,  tried  in  vain  to  rouse  the  Gallic  tribes  to  revolt.  They  found 
themselves  abandoned  so  soon  as  they  took  up  arms  against  Rome,  and 
perished  by  their  own  hands.  But,  eventually,  Gaul  suffered  greatly 
through  the  disorders  of  the  Empire  and  the  perpetual  revolutions  that 
shook  it.  No  law  determined  the  form  of  accession  to  the  imperial 
throne  :  the  armies,  scattered  about  the  provinces,  frequently  arrogated 
the  right  of  electing  the  sovereign,  and  victory  decided  between  them. 
The  Gauls  took  part  in  these  sanguinary  quarrels.  Thus,  on  the  death 
of  Nero,  being  influenced  by  Aquitanus  Vindex,  they  supported  Galba, 
and  afterwards  Vitellius.  On  the  death  of  the  latter,  they  dreamed 
of  regaining  their  independence.  Civilis,  aided  by  the  prophecies  of 
the  celebrated  druidess  Velleda,  collected  under  his  banners  the 
Batavi,   his   countrymen,  and  the  Belga?.     A  Gaul  of   the  name  of 

*  The  history  of  the  Church  has  preserved  for  us  the  names  of  the  most  illustrious 
martyrs  pof  this  glorious  epoch.  Not  one  of  them  surpassed  in  courage  the  slave 
Blandina,  a  maiden  of  delicate  complexion,  on  whom  the  executioner  exhausted  in  vain 
all  the  refinements  of  the  most  cruel  barbarity,  and  who,  when  under  torture,  answered 
all  the  efforts  of  her  persecutors  with  the  words,  "J  am  a  Christian  " 


Sabimis  assumed  the  title  of  Emperor ;  the  druids  then  emerged  from 
their  forests,  and  announced  that  the  Gallic  Empire  was  about  to 
succeed  the  Roman.  The  insurrection  spread,  and  two  Roman  legions, 
allowing  themselves  be  led  away,  marched  against  Rome.  But  Ves- 
pasian was  reigning,  and  his  lieutenants,  under  his  firm  and  vigilant 
authority,  made  the  rebellious  tribes  and  legions  return  to  their 
obedience.  Civilis  defended  for  some  time  longer  his  independence 
in  Batavia;  but  Sabinus,  conquered,  and  deserted  by  all,  hid  himself 
in  a  vault,  where  his  wife,  Eponina,  who  immortalized  herself  by  her 
conjugal  tenderness  and  her  courage,  buried  herself  with  him  during 
nine  years.  Sabinus  was  at  length  discovered  ;  and  Eponina,  in  order 
to  save  him,  embraced  the  knees  of  the  inexorable  Emperor :  unable 
to  obtain  his  pardon,  she  resolved  to  follow  him  to  the  grave,  sharing 
his  punishment,  as  she  had  shared,  during  his  life,  his  prison  and  his 

For  nearly  two  centuries  Gaul  served  as  the  battle-field  for  the 
generals  who  contested  the  Empire.  Already  the  numerous  and 
formidable  tribes,  formed  into  a  grand  confederation  in  Germany,  had 
tried,  on  several  occasions,  to  reach  the  left  bank  of  the  Rhine  ;  and 
occupied,  on  the  frontiers,  the  principal  strength  of  the  Roman  armies. 
In  this  incessantly  returning  peril,  and  in  the  midst  of  the  general 
disorder,  the  ties  that  connected  the  provinces  to  the  Empire  became 
daily  relaxed ;  and  toward  the  middle  of  the  third  century  Gaul  made 
a  new  effort  to  detach  itself.  The  legions  of  the  prefecture  of  Gaul 
recognized  as  Emperor,  about  the  year  260,  one  of  their  generals,  of  the 
name  of  Posthumus,  of  Gallic  origin,  who  was  assassinated,  and  had, 
during  thirteen  years,  several  successors,  known  in  history  under  the 
name  of  the  Gallic  Caesars.  Tetricus,  who  was  the  last  of  these,  weary 
of  power  and  its  dangers,  betrayed  his  army,  and  surrendered  himself 
to  the  Emperor  Aurelian. 

After  the  voluntary  fall  of  the  Gallic  chief,  barbarous  hordes  rushed 
upon  Gaul,  and  ravaged  it.  Devastated  by  them  on  the  one  hand, 
and,  on  the  other,  crushed  with  taxes  imposed  by  the  various 
candidates  to  empire,  and  exhausted  of  men  and  money,  the  Gallic 
cities  at  length  fell  into  the  most  miserable  condition.  The  fields 
remained  sterile,  for  want  of  men  to  cultivate  them ;  commerce 
perished ;   and  so  great  was  the  desolation  of  these  countries,  that  a 


great  number  of  freemen  made  themselves  serfs  or  slaves  in  order 
to  escape  the  obligation  of  bearing  a  share  of  the  public  burdens. 
The  serfs  revolted  toward  the  close  of  the  third  century,  and,  taking  up 
arms  under  the  name  of  Bagaudes,  burned  several  towns,  and  devas- 
tated the  country.  Maximian  crushed  them ;  but  his  victory  did  not 
restore  life  to  the  Gallic  nation,  for  the  decaying  Empire  imparted 
its  own  distress  to  all  the  nations  it  had  conquered. 

Gaul  breathed  again,  however,  during  a  few  years,  under  the  protect- 
ing administration  of  Caesar  Constantius  Chlorus,  who  was  called  to  the 
imperial  throne  in  305,  by  the  double  abdication  of  Diocletian  and  Max- 
imian. After  him,  Constantine,  his  son,  was  proclaimed  Emperor  by 
the  army,  and  Christianity  began  its  milder  reign.  Persecution  ceased, 
and  this  prince,  like  his  father,  made  great  efforts  to  restore  prosperity 
to  the  cities  of  Gaul,  and  security  to  its  frontiers ;  but  the  dissensions 
which  troubled  the  Empire  upon  his  death  drew  down  fresh  calamities 
upon  it.  The  barbarians  drove  back  the  legions  entrusted  with  the  de- 
fence of  the  Rhine,  as  far  as  the  Seine  ;  and  terror  reigned  in  the  ruined 
cities  of  Gaul,  until  Constantius,  the  son  of  Constantine,  sent  the 
celebrated  Julian,  his  son,  invested  with  the  dignity  of  Caesar,  to  the 
help  of  this  unhappy  country.  Julian,  by  a  memorable  victory,  gained 
in  357,  near  Strasburg,  over  seven  Allemannic  kings  or  chiefs,  freed 
Gaul  for  some  time  from  the  presence  of  the  barbarians.  He  selected 
as  his  residence  the  capital  of  the  Parisians,  which  he  called  his  dear 
Lutetia ;  *  gained  the  love  of  the  people  by  his  vigilant  administration 
and  justice ;  and  employed,  with  indefatigable  ardour,  the  leisure  of 
peace  to  repair  the  ravages  of  war.  But  he  only  offered  a  temporary 
remedy  for  continuous  evils,  which  were  too  profound  to  be  cured  by 
human  hands.  Julian  himself  ascended  the  imperial  throne  on  the 
death  of  Constantius.  The  period  of  his  elevation  to  the  rank  of 
Augustus  was  also  that  of  his  apostasy.  He  abjured  Christianity,  and, 
in  his  fury,  attempted  to  destroy  it.  But  the  light  of  the  Gospel  had 
already  penetrated  beyond  the  Roman  world ;  and  Christianity,  more 
powerful  than  the  priests  of  the  Empire,  made  its  irresistible  sway 
felt   by   the   new   nations   which    God   had  reserved   for    the    over- 

*  Paris,  called  Lutetia  at  that  period,  was  almost  entirely  confined  to  the  lie 
de  la  Cite  ;  but  a  suburb  already  ran  along  the  left  bank  of  the  Seine :  here  stood  the- 
Palace  of  the  Thermae,  inhabited  by  Julian,  and  the  ruins  of  which  still  exist,  and  have 
retained  their  name. 


throw  of  the  Empire.  They  completed  the  work  of  destruction 
commenced  by  civil  discords,  the  want  of  industry,  indolence,  misery, 
the  cowardice  of  the  multitude,  and  the  corruption  of  the  higher 
classes.  All  that  was  condemned  to  perish  was  overthrown  by  the 
barbarians  ;  but  they  stopped  before  the  Christian  Church,  which  they 
found  erect  and  established,  and  which  subdued  themselves. 



The  nations  that  destroyed  the  Roman  Empire  were  three  in  number : 
the    Gothic   nation,*  the   Tartar  nation,   or  Huns,    and  the  Teutonic 
nation.     They  were  subdivided  into  a  great  number  of  peoples. 

These  invasions  were  at  the  outset  neither  voluntary  nor  simul- 
taneous, but  solely  the  consequence  of  other  invasions.  Thus,  the 
emigration  of  the  Goths  in  the  second  century  drove  back  the  Germans 
on  to  the  frontiers  of  the  Empire ;  and  two  hundred  years  later  the 
arrival  of  the  Huns  in  Europe  forced  upon  it  a  portion  of  the  Goths 
themselves.  Up  to  the  Christian  era,  the  Goths  and  Tartars  were 
unknown  to  the  Romans ;  but  this  was  not  the  case  with  the 
Teutonic  nation,  which  occupied,  so  early  as  three  centuries  B.C.,  the 
vast  space  contained  between  the  Rhine,  the  Danube,  the  Oder,  and  the 
German  Ocean.     All  the  men  of  this  race  called  themselves  Germans — 

.  *  This  great  people,  whose  traces  are  still  visible  throughout  Europe,  had  settled  on 
the  shores  of  the  Baltic  ;  but  were  driven  thence  by  the  invasion  of  an  Asiatic 
people  led  by  Odin  into  the  northern  countries  of  Europe  toward  the  second  century. 
The  Goths  halted  on  the  shores  of  the  Euxine,  and  there  divided  into  two  groups,  which 
derived  their  name  from  their  geographical  position,  the  Visigoths,  or  western  Goths,  and 
the  Ostrogoths,  or  Eastern  Goths.  In  the  middle  of  the  fourth  century  the  invasion  of 
the  Huns  into  these  countries  took  place.  The  Visigoths  then  emigrated,  and,  casting 
themselves  upon  the  Roman  Empire,  did  not  cease  to  ravage  it  till  the  period  when 
Ataulf ,  brother  of  the  terrible  Alaric,  founded  in  Southern  Gaul  and  Spain  the  monarchy 
of  the  Visigoths  (412). 

The  Ostrogoths,  after  enduring  the  yoke  of  the  Huns,  went,  under  ^Theodoric  the  Great 
and  with  the  assent  of  the  Emperor  Zeno,  to  reconquer  Italy  from  the  Herulians,  and  esta- 
blished there,  in  493,  the  kingdom  of  the  Ostrogoths,  which  perished  beneath  the  blows 
of  Belisarius  and  Narses  in  the  years  between  534  and  553. 

A  portion  of  the  Goths  had  remained  in  the  desert.  The  name  of  Gepidse  (laggards) 
was  given  to  them.  They  were  exterminated  in  the  sixth  century  by  the  Lombards,  at 
that  time  their  neighbours. 


welir-m'dnner,  a  word  in  their  language  signifying  men  of  war.  In 
the  end,  the  general  denomination  of  Germany  was  applied  to  all  the 
regions  which  they  occupied.  This  people,  however,  had  been  divided, 
long  prior  to  the  Christian  era,  into  two  great  factions,  the  Suevi  and 
the  Saxons,  who  were  separated  by  the  Hyrcinian  forest,  situated  in  the 
centre  of  Germany.*  These  were  the  Germans,  who,  before  invading 
the  Roman  Empire,  sustained  its  attacks,  for  so  lengthened  a  period,  in 
their  gloomy  forests. 

Two  great  historians,  Caesar  and  Tacitus,  have  depicted  these 
T>arbarians  for  us.  The  former  shows  us  a  pastoral  people  living  on 
milk  and  the  flesh  of  their  flocks ;  with  no  other  worship  than  that  of 
the  stars,  without  any  permanent  political  government,  and  led  into 
action  by  chiefs  temporarily  elected,  who  were  arbiters  of  life  and  death. 
The  most  noticeable  thing  we  find  in  Tacitus,  when  we  seek  in  his 
History  the  deep  and  imperishable  traits  that  characterized  in  his  day 
the  majority  of  the  German  peoples,  is  a  manly  feeling  of  human 
dignity,  and  a  love  of  individual  independence,  tempered  in  warlike 
minds  by  devotion  to  the  chief  and  respect  for  noble  blood.  What  in  the 
highest  degree  attracts  attention  in  their  customs  is  the  division  of 
power  between  the  prince  and  the  people,  the  sanction  of  the  laws  by 
popular  assent,  and  the  trial  of  accused  persons  by  assessors  freely 
elected.  Still,  these  forms  of  civilization  were  blended  in  the  Germans 
with  great  barbarity  ;  and  Tacitus  tells  us  that,  as  the  reward  of  their 
services,  they  received  from  their  chiefs  copious  repasts  and  took 
impart  in  sanguinary  orgies  ;  that  they  only  lived  for  war  and  the  chase, 
and  performed  superstitious  rites  of  the  most  horrible  kind,  amid  the 
cries  of  the  human  victims  sacrificed  by  them  on  these  occasions.  Such 
was  the  nation  destined  to  expel  the  Roraan  conquerors  from  the  soil 
of  Gaul,  and  to  found  a  new  and  great  people  by  the  admixture  of 
Germanic  and  Gallic  blood. 

All  the  Teutonic  tribes  did  not  participate  in  this  work,  although 

*  The  Teutonic  people  established  to  the  south  and  west  of  the  Hyrcinian  forest,  had 
received  the  name  of  Suevi,  derived  from  the  verb  sckovehen,  meaning,  to  be  in  motion.  The 
Suevi,  in  truth,  were  constantly  on  the  move,  and  made  perpetual  efforts  to  invade 
neighbouring  countries.  Those  Teutons,  on  the  other  hand,  who  dwelt  to  the  north  of 
the  forest,  being  less  nomadic  than  the  others,  were  known  by  the  name  of  Saxons,  a  word 
■-derived  from  sitzen  (sass  in  the  preterite),  to  be  seated,  or  at  rest.  This  great  division  of 
Germany  subsisted  up  to  the  second  century  of  the  Christian  era,  the  period  when  the 
three  great  Germanic  confederations  were  formed. 


many  of  them  "invaded  Gaul  at  different  points.  A  small  number  of 
clans  maintained  themselves  in  the  country,  after  a  conquest  which 
was  for  a  long  period  slow,  and  limited  to  the  northern  frontiers. 
But  before  we  observe  the  future  masters  of  Gaul  crossing  in  turn  the 
Yssel,  the  Rhine  and  the  Meuse,  and  thus  adyancing  step  by  step  as 
far  as  the  banks  of  the  Seine,  it  is  important  that  we  should  notice 
the  events  which,  in  the  second  century  of  the  Christian  era,  had 
modified  the  state  of  the  German  tribes. 

The  great  emigration  of  the  Goths  from  north  to  south  had  just  over- 
thrown central  Europe ;  and  a  part  of  the  Suevi,  expelled  by  them  from 
the  country  of  the  lower  Danube,  went  up  toward  the  sources  of  that 
river,  between  the  Hyrcinian  forest  and  the  Rhine.  This  country 
received  from  them  the  name  of  Sue  via  or  Suabia;  they  formed  there 
a  confederation  of  the  relics  of  several  peoples  of  different  races,  who 
adopted  the  general  title  of  Allemanica,  or  collection  of  men  of  all 
descriptions  (Allemanner) .  The  territory  of  this  southern  confederation 
extended  between  the  Rhine  and  the  Hyrcinian  forest,  from  the  Maine 
up  to  the  Helvetic  Alps. 

The  peoples  of  Northern  Germany,  living  to  the  north  of  the  Hyr- 
cinian forest,  or  the  Saxons,  were  also  shaken  by  the  Gothic  migration, 
although  their  territory  remained  intact.  A  part  of  these  tribes, 
nearest  to  the  Scandinavians,  being  subjected  by  the  sons  of  Odin, 
themselves  adopted  the  Odinic  worship :  they  formed  a  body  under 
the  general  denomination  of  Saxons,  and  this  aggregation  was  joined 
by  the  Angles,  who  inhabited  a  country  called  Anglia,  to  the  south  of 
the  Cimbric  Chersonese.  Such  was  the  origin  of  the  Anglo-Saxons, 
the  future  conquerors  of  Great  Britain,  who  established  themselves 
on  the  shores  of  the  Elbe,  the  Baltic,  and  the  German  Ocean.  For- 
midable pirates,  they  spread  devastation  along  the  coasts  of  Gaul, 
Great  Britain,  and  Spain,  as  early  as  the  third  century. 

Pressed  between  the  imperial  armies  and  several  powerful 
•confederations  of  nations  of  their  own  race,  the  Central  Germans, 
settled  between  the  Weser  and  the  Rhine,  also  recognized  the  necessity 
of  uniting  for  the  common  defence  ;  and,  toward  the  middle  of  the 
third  century,  a  new  confederation  was  formed  in  the  countries  com- 
prised between  the  two  rivers,  under  the  name  of  Francs  (Franken),  a 
-German   word,   whose   meaning   approaches   to   that   of  ferox,    and 

26  INVASIONS   OF  THE   BAKBARIANS.  [IntkoducIion 

signifies  proud  and  warlike.  These  tribes,  worthy  of  their  name,  were 
in  fact  the  most  celebrated  among  the  barbarians  for  their  bravery, 
and  it  is  from  them  that  the  French  have  derived  their  name.  "With 
the  exception  of  the  Frisons,  who  maintained  their  independence,  they 
included  in  their  confederation  all  the  peoples  established  between  the 
Rhine  and  the  Weser,  and  in  this  number  were  the  Bructeri,  the 
Teucteri,  the  Chamavi,  the  Oatti,  the  Angrivarii,  and  the  Sugambri. 
The  Franks  are  mentioned  in  history  for  the  first  time  in  the  year  241 ; 
and  a  few  years  later,  in  256,  a  horde  of  this  nation  traversed  Gaul, 
crossed  the  Pyrenees,  ravaged  Spain,  and  spread  as  far  as  Africa. 
The  Emperor  Probus  transported  a  colony  of  Franks  to  the  shores  of 
the  Euxine  ;  but  they  soon  grew  weary  of  their  exile,  and,  seizing  a 
few  barks,  they  audaciously  skirted  the  coasts  of  Asia,  Greece,  and 
Africa,  passed  between  the  Pillars  of  Hercules,  faced  the  perils  of  the 
sea,  and,  following  the  coast  as  far  as  the  German  Ocean,  they  re- 
entered by  the  mouths  of  the  great  rivers  the  countries  whence  they 
originally  came. 

Thus,  in  the  third  century  of  our  era,  three  formidable  confedera- 
tions closed  Germany,  from  the  shores  of  the  Baltic  to  the  sources  of 
the  Rhine  and  the  Danube,  against  the  imperial  armies  and  fleets — the 
Saxons  in  the  north,  the  Franks  in  the  west,  and  the  Allemanni  in  the 
south,  while  the  Goths  were  encamped  on  the  left  bank  of  the 

All  these  nations,  between  which  the  Roman  Empire  of  the  West 
was  eventually  divided,  did  not  attack  it  at  the  outset  with  the 
intention  of  destroying  it.  Impelled  by  violent  and  irresistible  causes 
to  cross  its  frontiers,  they  were  all  eager  to  have  their  conquests 
legitimated  by  imperial  concessions  and  treaties  which  incorpo- 
rated them  with  the  Empire,  whose  powerful  organization  and 
superior  civilization  filled  them  with  astonishment  and  admiration. 
Their  kings  gladly  assumed  the  Roman  titles  of  patricians,  consuls, 
and  chiefs  of  the  militia,  dignities  with  which  several  of  them  were 
invested  by  the  Emperors,  as  allies  of  the  Empire  ;  and  their  highest 
ambition  was  to  be  united  by  marriage  with  the  imperial  family. 

At  this  period  all  the  frontiers  had  received  numerous  military 
colonies  of  barbarians,  hired,  under  the  name  of  Letes,  for  the 
service    of    the    Imperial    Government,    which    attached    them    to 


it  by  the  concession  of  lands,  called  "  letic  lands."  "  The  em- 
perors," Procopius  tells  us,  "could  not  prevent  the  barbarians 
entering  the  provinces  ;  but  the  barbarians,  on  their  side,  did  not 
consider  they  actually  possessed  the  land  they  occupied,  so  long  as  the 
fact  of  their  possession  had  not  been  changed  into  right  by  the 
imperial  authority." 

The  Franks  were  among  the  barbarians  who  also  received  great 
concessions  of  territory  in  Gaul  long  before  the  epoch  assigned  to  their 
first  invasion  by  a  number  of  historians.  Repulsed  from  the  banks  of 
the  Weser  by  the  Saxons,  two  of  the  principal  tribes  of  the  Frank 
confederation,  the  Angrivarii  first,  and  then  the  Catti,  emigrated  in 
the  third  century,  and  drew  nearer  to  the  banks  of  the  Yssel,  the 
frontier  of  Batavia.  The  Romans  gave  these  Franks  the  name  of 
Salics,  or  Salii,  according  to  all  appearance  from  that  of  the  Tssel 
(Isala),  on  whose  banks  they  had  been  encamped  for  a  long  period.* 
This  people,  by  favour  of  the  civil  wars  and  revolts  which  agitated 
Northern  Gaul  at  the  end  of  the  third  century,  crossed  the  river,  and 
established  themselves  in  Batavia.  The  Emperor  Maximian,  after 
attempting  to  expel  them  from  the  Empire,  saw  that  it  would  be  more 
advantageous  to  have  their  help  in  defending  it ;  and,  about  the  year 
587,  he  allowed  the  Salic  Franks  to  settle,  as  military  colonists,  between 
the  Moselle  and  the  Scheldt,  from  Treves  (Augusta  Trevirorum)  as  far 
as  Tournay  (Turnacum). 

A  few  years  later,  two  other  Frank  tribes,  the  Bructeri  and 
Chamavi,  crossed  the  Rhine  in  order  to  support  the  claims  of  the 
usurper  Carausius  to  the  imperial  throne.     Constantius  Chlorus  and 

*  Archaeologists  have  supplied  different  etymologies  for  the  word  Salic.  I  have 
adopted  the  one  which  appeared  to  me  most  probable.  "M.  Gfuerard  has  proved,"  says 
M.  de  Petigny,  ' '  that  the  Salic  land  was  only  the  glebe  attached  to  the  manor  or  house, 
whose  name  is  Sal  in  all  the  German  dialects,  and  which,  as  it  could  not  be  divided,  did 
not  form  part  of  the  inheritance  of  the  daughters."  Still,  M.  de  Petigny  does  not 
believe,  and  I  agree  with  him,  that  we  can  come  to  the  conclusion  that  the  Salie 
Franks  derived  their  name  from  this  usage,  which  was  common  to  them  with  the  other 
tribes  of  Germany.  "  Let  us  not  forget,"  he  says,  "that  the  name  of  Salii  was  given 
them  by  the  Romans  :  now,  the  Romans  were  extremely  ignorant  of  German  customs, 
and  would  not  have  sought  the  designation  of  a  colony  of  expatriated  Germans  in  a 
custom  which  was  not  even  special  to  them.  Is  it  not  more  natural  to  think  that  the 
Belgian  Franks  were  called  after  the  name  of  the  country  which  they  had  quitted,  in 
order  to  settle  on  Roman  territory  ?  This  country  was  the  right  bank  of  the  Yssel, 
where  they  had  lived  for  upwards  of  a  century  before  entering  Batavia.  The  Latin 
name  of  the  Yssel  was  Isala." 


Constantine  his  son  contended  against  them  for  a  long  time,  and  the 
Emperor  Julian,  after  conquering  them,  allowed  them  to  found  a 
military  colony  between  the  Rhine  and  the  Meuse.  These  Franks 
were  called  Ripuarii,  from  the  Latin  word  ripa,*  because  they  settled 
along  the  banks  of  the  Rhine,  one  of  the  two  great  rivers  which 
served  the  Roman  Empire  as  a  barrier  against  the  barbarians. 

The  Salic  Franks  and  Ripuarian  Franks  occupied  nearly  the  same 
respective  positions  in  the  fifth  century.  At  this  period  the  Empire 
was  divided  between  the  sons  of  the  great  Theodosius,  Honorius 
reigning  at  Rome,  and  Arcadius  at  Constantinople.  Gaul  formed  part  of 
Honorius's  share,  and  under  this  weak  prince  the  "Western  Empire 
gave  way  on  all  sides.  A  multitude  of  causes  had  hastened  its  disso- 
lution, and  anarchy  was  rampant  in  the  State.  The  barbarians  ad- 
vanced to  plunder  that  which  they  were  badly  paid  to  defend.  In 
vain  Rome  humiliated  herself  so  deeply  as  to  become  their  tributary, 
endeavouring  to  stop  by  presents  these  fierce  men,  against  whom  she 
could  no  longer  effect  anything  by  her  arms,  or  the  majesty  of  her 
name :  the  work  of  destruction  commenced,  and  in  spite  of  a  few 
fortunate  days  for  the  Roman  arms,  the  invading  flood  never  halted 
till  it  had  swallowed  up  the  Empire,  and  even  Rome  herself. 

The  Suevi  and  Yandals  f  burst  into  Gaul  in  406,  and  from  that 
date  up  to  4*76,  the  epoch  when  a  barbarian  chief  deposed  the  last 
emperor,  Italy  and  Gaul  were  one  vast  scene  of  carnage  and  desola- 
tion, in  which  twenty  nations  of  different  origin  came  into  furious 

The  Suevi  and  Yandals  were  followed  by  the  Yisigoths,  who,  after 
ravaging  one  half  of  the  two  Empires,  and  sacking  Rome,  tore 
from  the  Emperor  Honorius,  who  was  invested  in  Ravenna,  the  con- 
cession of  the  southern  territory  of  Gaul,  situated  to  the  west  of  the 
Rhone.  The  Western  Empire  was  dismembered  on  all  sides.  The 
island  of  Britain  had  already  liberated  itself  from  the  yoke  of 
the  Romans,  and  the    Armorican  provinces    of   Western    Gaul  rose 

*  Ripuarios  a  ripa  Rheni  sic  vocatos,  et  primum  a  Romanis  ad  defensionem  limitis 
ad  versus  Gernianis  constitutes  fuisse,  nullus  dubitat.— Prcef.  Eccardi  ad  Legem  Rip. 

+  This  most  barbarous  of  the  barbarous  nations  was  of  Slavonic  origin.  Their  hordes 
■wandered  about  Germany  for  a  while,  and  eventually  joined  the  Suevi  in  invading  the 
Empire.  After  crossing  Graul,  the  Vandals  established  themselves  in  Spain,  and  in  the 
fifth  century  passed  over  to  Africa,  where  Belisarius  exterminated  them. 


in  insurrection.  About  the  same  period,  the  Burgundians,  a  people 
of  Vandal  origin,  crossed  the  Rhine,  and  in  413,  founded,  on 
Gallic  territory,  a  first  Burgundian  kingdom,  between  Mayence  and 
Strasburg.*  The  chroniclers  of  the  eighth  century,  copied  by  all  sub- 
sequent writers,  have  selected  this  epoch  (418)  for  a  new  invasion  of 
the  Salic  Franks,  under  a  chief  whom  they  have  named  Pharamond, 
and  whose  existence  is  most  uncertain.  Contemporary  writers  did  not 
allude  to  him  ;  and  we  have  seen  the  Franks  established  in  the  north  of 
Gaul  in  the  third  century,  where  they  remained  almost  stationary  up  to 
the  fall  of  the  Empire. f 

Valentinian  III.  succeeded  Honorius  in  424,  and  reigned  in  sloth 
and  indolence  at  Bavenna,  to  which  city  the  seat  of  the  Western 
Empire  had  been  transferred.  .^Etius,  who  had  been  brought  up  as  a 
hostage  in  the  camp  of  the  Visigoth  conqueror,  Alaric,  commanded  the 
Roman  armies.  This  skilful  general,  the  last  whom  Borne  possessed,  had 
fought  with  success,  and  had  subjugated  several  barbarous  tribes  esta- 
blished in  Gaul,  the  Franks,  Visigoths,  and  Burgundians.  But  at  this 
moment  other  barbarians  poured  over  that  country.  The  Huns,  a  Scy- 
thian people,  the  most  cruel  and  savage  of  all,  left  the  shores  of  the 
Euxine  and  followed  Attila.  Their  multitude  was  innumerable.  Guided 
by  the  instinct  of  destruction,  they  said  of  themselves  that  they  were 
going  whither  the  wrath  of  God  called  them.  They  entered  Gaul, 
and  fired  and  devastated  everything  before  them  as  far  as  Orleans.  They 
threatened  Paris,  and  the  Parisians  attributed  the  salvation  of  their 
city  to  the  prayers  of  Sainte  Genevieve.  Still,  the  Romans  and 
Visigoths,  allied  under  the  command  of  ^Etius  and  Theodoric,J  com- 
pelled the  Huns  to  retreat:    Alaric  fell  back  into  Champagne,  and 

*  Questions  Bourguignonnes,  by  Roget  de  Belloquet.  This  work,  -which  the  Academy 
of  Inscriptions  and  Belles  Lettres  has  crowned,  offers  opinions  as  profound  as  they  are 
ingenious,  about  the  origin  and  existence  of  the  Burgundians  in  Germany  and  Gaul. 
The  author  has  added  a  map  of  the  first  kingdom  of  Burgundy. 

+  Concerning  the  true  or  supposed  existence  of  Pharamond,  and  the  authenticity  of 
the  passage  in  the  Chronicle  of  Prosperus,  the  sole  record  of  the  fifth  century,  in  which 
Pharamond  is  mentioned,  consult  the  learned  and  judicious  dissertation  of  M.  de 
Persigny,  in  his  Etudes  sur  VEpoque  Merovingienne. 

%  This  Theodoric,  king  of  the  Visigoths,  and  successor  of  Tallin,  must  not  be  confounded 
with  the  great  Tkeodoiic,  king  of  the  Ostrogoths,  who,  a  few  years  later,  was  destined  to 
conquer  Italy. 


there,  near  Chalons- sur-Marne,  on  the  Oatalaunian  plains,  a  fright- 
ful battle  took  place  in  the  year  451,  which  was  won  by  .iEtius, 
and  followed  by  a  most  awful  carnage,  in  which  it  is  said  that  300,000 
men  perished.  Merovseus,  chief  of  the  Franks,  joined  the  Romans  and 
Visigoths  on  this  sanguinary  day,  and  contributed  greatly  to  their 
victory  by  his  exploits. 

Gaul  remained  the  scene  of  bloodthirsty  struggles  between  the  dif- 
ferent tribes  that  occupied  the  country,  and  each  moment  of  repose 
was  followed  by  a  new  and  frightful  crisis.  Majorienus,  proclaimed 
emperor  in  457,  had  chosen,  as  his  lieutenant  in  Graul  and  master 
of  the  militia,  Syagrius  JEgidius,  who  belonged  to  one  of  the  great 
families  of  the  country,  and  was  distinguished  by  the  most 
eminent  qualities..  The  exalted  dignity  of  master  of  the  militia 
was  the  object  of  the  ardent  ambition  of  the  barbarian  chiefs,  esta- 
blished in  the  Empire  by  the  title  of  colonists,  letes,  or  confederates ; 
and  the  latter  respected  the  person  invested  with  it  as  the  delegate 
of  the  Emperor,  whose  supremacy  they  recognized.  An  example  of 
this  was  seen  in  the  time  of  -ZEgidius,  in  a  fact  worthy  of  attention,  and 
which  has,  for  a  long  time,  been  misunderstood.  Merovaeus,  king 
of  the  Salic  Franks,  having  died  in  458,  was  succeeded  by 
his  son  Childeric,  who  was  proclaimed  king  in  spite  of  his  extreme 
youth,  and  soon  afterwards  dethroned  and  expelled  by  the  people  who 
had  raised  him  on  the  shield.  The  Franks,  no  longer  possessing  a 
prince  of  the  royal  race,  voluntarily  subjected  themselves  to  the  Grallo- 
Roman,  ^Egidius,  master  of  the  militia,  and  recognized  him  as  their 
chief.  ^Egidius,  having  been  declared  an  enemy  of  the  Empire  by 
the  Roman  Senate,  the  Franks  recalled  Childeric,  placed  him  again  at 
their  head,  and  helped  in  the  overthrow  of  ^Egidius.  Childeric,  at  a 
later  date,  was  himself  invested  with  the  dignity  of  master  of  the 
militia,  and  fought  with  glory  for  the  Empire,  against  the  barbarians 
who  were  rending  it  asunder. 

The  Empire  subsisted  for  a  few  years  longer,  a  prey  to  frightful  con- 
vulsions. On  one  side  were  effeminate  princes,  indifferent  to  the 
public  calamities,  succeeding  each  other  on  the  throne  ;  chiefs  who  rose 
rapidly,  and  fell  as  rapidly,  by  assassination  or  revolt ;  an  army,  com- 
posed of  a  multitude  of  men  of  all  nations,  who  recognized  no  country, 

iy.]     .  DESTBUCTION    OF    THE   WESTBEN    EM2IEE.  31' 

whom  cupidity  alone  attached  to  tlie  Empire,  and  who  ravaged  it, 
when  more  was  to  be  gained  by  pillage  than  by  mercenary  service  •  and 
an  ignorant  and  wretched  people,  who  knew  not  what  laws  to  obey, 
who  were  exhausted  by  the  Emperors,  plundered  by  the  armies  and 
barbarian  hordes,  and  who  would  have  long  ceased  to  be  Romans,  had 
they  known  to  whom  they  could  submit  with  security.  On  the  other 
side,  were  new  and  ferocious  nations,  whose  independent  and  haughty 
temper  contrasted  with  the  effeminate  character  of  the  Romans ; 
tribes  which,  though  differing  in  manners,  language,  and  worship,  as 
well  as  origin,  seemed  to  have  come  to  an  understanding  to  hurry 
from  the  confines  of  the  world,  and  rush  together  on  the  Empire  as 
their  prey. 

Between  this  worn-out  society  and  these  new  races,  the  Christian 
Church  rose,  acquired  strength,  and  won  over  a  multitude  of  men,  to 
whom  the  world  only  offered  suffering,  and  who  eagerly  embraced 
the  hope  of  a  happier  existence  in  a  better  world.  The  Church  received 
them  all  into  its  bosom,,  without  respect  of  rank  or  fortune,  giving  its 
dignities  to  the  most  learned  and  the  most  able.  The  Church  alone 
was,  in  the  West,  the .  depository  of  some  learning ;  and  laboured  to 
produce  a  new  civilization  out  of  the  chaos  into  which  Europe  threat- 
ened to  fall.  Alone  it  stood  erect  and  constituted,  while  everything 
was  crumbling  away  around  it ;  and  when  the  Roman  magistracy 
disappeared  in  Gaul,  the  title  of  "defender  of  the  city"  passed  to 
the  bishops,  and  the  ecclesiastical  dioceses  were  everywhere  sub- 
stituted for  the  imperial  dioceses.  : 

The  Empire  terminated  its  painful  agony  between  the  years  475 
and  480.  The  last  prince  elected  by  the  Senate  of  Rome  and  the 
Emperor  of  Constantinople,  and  who,  by  this  double  title,  had  been 
legally  recognized  as  Emperor  of  the  West,  was  ISTepos,  proclaimed  Au- 
gustus at  Rome  in  474.  An  officer  of  barbarian  origin,  Orestes,  formerly 
secretary  to  Attila,  placed  by  Nepos  at  the  head  of  the  imperial  troops, 
(Jrove  him  from  the  throne,  compelled  him  to  fly,  and  raised  in 
his  stead  a  son  of  his  own  by  his  marriage  with  a  Roman  lady  of 
illustrious  race.  This  son,  named  Romulus,  was  recognized  as 
Emperor  by  the.  Senate  of  Rome  ;  but  his  election  was  not  confirmed 
by  the    Court  of  Constantinople.:    he   only  received  the  shadow    of 

32  INVASIONS   OF  THE   BARBARIANS.  [Introduction 

power,  and  was  called  in  contempt  by  the  sobriquet  of  Augustulus. 
He  was  overthrown  a  year  after  bis  election  by  another  barbarian 
officer  of  the  name  of  Odoacer. 

Gaul,  upon  the  fall  of  the  Empire,  was  divided  between  the  Visi- 
goths under  Euric,  in  the  south ;  the^peoples  of  Armorica,  in  the  west ; 
the  Germans  and  Burgundians,  in  the  east ;  and  the  Franks,  in  the 
north.  The  latter,  still  divided  into  two  nations,  the  Salic  and  the 
Ripuarian,  occupied  nearly  the  same  territory  they  had  conquered, 
and  the  possession  of  which  had  been  confirmed  to  them  in  the  two 
previous  centuries.  The  Ripuarian  Franks,  who  occupied  the  two 
banks  of  the  Rhine,  extended  on  the  French  side  of  that  river  as  far 
as  the  Scheldt.  The  Salic  Franks  occupied,  between  the  Scheldt,  the 
German  Ocean,  and  the  Somme,  a" territory  which  they  had  conquered 
under  their  King,  Clodion,  toward  the  middle  of  the  fifth  century. 
They  were  divided  into  three  tribes  or  small  kingdoms,  the  principal 
cities  of  which  were  Tournay  (Turnacum),  Cambray  (Cameracum), 
and  Therouanne  (Theruenna).  The  chiefs  or  kings  of  these  tribes  all 
belonged  to  the  royal  race  of  Clodion,  and  his  son  Merovasus.  The 
tribe  of  Tournay  had  acquired  the  first  rank  and  predominant 
influence  under  King  Childeric. 

A  portion  of  Gaul,  between  the  Somme  and  the  Loire,  had  re- 
mained Roman,  and  maintained  itself,  for  some  time  after  the  fall  of 
the  Empire,  independent  of  the  barbarians.  This  rather  extensive 
country  was  governed  at  that  time  by  the  Roman  general  Syagrius, 
son  of  the  celebrated  -<3Sgidius,  the  ex-master  of  the  imperial 

The  Anglo-Saxons,  at  this  period,  having  invaded  Great  Britain, 
and  established  themselves  in  that  island,  a  great  number  of  the 
old  inhabitants  emigrated  and  settled  at  the  extremity  of  the 
western  point  of  Armorica,  where  they  were  kindly  welcomed  by 
the  natives,  who  had  a  community  of  language  and  origin  with  them. 
French  Brittany  derived  its  name  from  these  expatriated  Britons. 
About  the  same  period,  a  colony  of  Saxons,  expelled  from  Ger- 
many, established  themselves  in  Lower  Normandy,  in  the  vicinity  of 
Bayeux ;  while  another  colony  of  the  same  people,  hostile  to  the 
Britons,  occupied  a  part  of  Main 3  and  Anjou. 


Such  was  the  state  of  Granl  when,  in  481,  Clotwig,  better  known 
by  the  name  of  Cloyis,*  son  of  Childeric,  and  grandson  of  Merovig 
or  Merovaeus,  who  gave  his  name  to  his  dynasty,  was  elected  king  or 
chief  of  the  Salic  Franks  established  at  Tonrnay. 

*  Among  most  of  the  barbarian  nations  the  proper  names  of  men  and  women  nearly 
always  indicate  some  distinctive  quality.  Merowig  or  Merwig,  is  formed  of  the  two 
words  mer,  great,  and  wig,  a  warrior.  Clohvig  is  derived  from  clot,  celebrated,  and 
ioig,  warrior  ;  Clothild  or  Lothild,  from  lot,  celebrated,  and  Mid,  a  boy  or  girl.  The 
barbarian  names  are  generally  harsh  or  difficult  of  pronunciation,  and  they  have  been 
transformed  by  use  into  softer  names.  Thus,  for  instance,  of  Merowig,  the  French  have 
made  Merc  vie  ;  of  Clotwig  or  Chlodowig,  Clovis  ;  of  Brunehild,  Brunehaut  ;  of  Theo- 
dorik,  Thierry ;  of  Gundbald,  Grondebaud ;  of  Karle,  Charles  ;  of  Leodgher,  Leger  ;  of 
Rodulf,  Raoul  ;  of  Atlrick,  Alaric,  &c. 




481-986   (five  centuries). 






The  success  of  the  Franks  in  that  part  of  Gaul  which  had  remained 
subject  to   the   Romans,  was   partly  due  to  the  state  of   oppression1 
into  which  the  Imperial  Government  had  plunged  the  people,  who, 
crushed   by   taxation,   impatient   to  break  the   yoke,    and   forced   to 
sustain  continual  struggles,  were  yet  deficient  in  resolution  and  vigour 
to  defend  themselves.      Other  causes  favoured  their   rapid  progress 
in  the  countries  occupied  by  the  Visigoths  and  Burgundians.     These 
hordes,  whose  invasion  of  Gaul  had  been  violent  and  accompanied  by 
great  ravages,  had  been  rapidly  softened  by  the  influence  of  a  superior 
civilization:    the    Goths,  more  especially,  assumed    Roman  manners, 
which  were  those  of  the  civilized  inhabitants  of  Gaul,  and  sought 
to    acquire   the   politeness,  arts,  and  laws  of   the   conquered,    whose 
religion,  however,  they  did  not  adopt.     They  were  attached  to  the 
Arian  heresy,  while  the  nations  they  had  conquered  were  maintained 
in   the    orthodox,   or  Catholic,  faith  by  their  bishops.-     The  latter, 
children  of  Rome  and  inheritors  of  the  administrative  power  of  the 
Roman  magistrates,  bound  to  recognize  as  their  pattern  and  head  the 
bishop  of  the  Eternal  City,  to  regulate  their  faith  by  his,  and  to  con- 
tribute  by   the  unity  of  religion  to  the  unity  of  the  Empire,   still 
laboured,  at  the  period  of  the  conquest,  to  retain  under  the  authority 

38  THE    EEIGN   OF   CLOVIS.  [Book  I.  CHAP.  I. 

of  Rome,  by  the  bond  of  religious  faith,  countries  in  which  the  bond 
of  political  obedience  was  severed. 

The  Yisigoths  and  Burgundians  did  not  recognize  the  authority  of 
the  bishops,  who  had  greater  hopes  of  a  nation  still  pagan  and  free 
from  prejudices,  as  the  Franks  were  at  that  time,  than  of  tribes 
who,  already  converted  to  Christianity,  refused  to  acknowledge  their 
creed  or  take  them  as  guides.  The  Goths  and  Burgundians,  besides, 
at  the  moment  when  they  were  attacked  by  the  Franks,  had  lost 
some  of  their  primitive  energy,  and  had  made  no  progress  in  the 
military  science  of  the  conquered  races  ;  but  the  Franks,  on  the 
contrary,  had  retained  all  the  savage  vigour  of  the  inhabitants  of 
Germany,  and  nothing  had  softened  their  natural  ferocity,  or  their 
spirit  of  independence.  When  they  were  conquered,  fresh  migrations 
of  Germanic  tribes  incessantly  arrived  to  repair  their  losses ;  when 
they  were  conquerors,  they  had  all  the  superiority  which  is  produced 
by  the  boldness  of  success  and  the  thirst  of  pillage,  peculiar  to  warlike 
tribes  that  have  nothing  to  lose  and  everything  to  gain. 

Clovis,  elected  chief  of  the  Franks,  soon  seconded  the  wish  of 
the  bishops  of  Gaul  by  espousing  Glotilda,  daughter  of  Childeric, 
king  of  the  Burgundians,  the  only  woman  of  the  Germanic  race  who 
at  that  period  belonged  to  the  Catholic  communion. 

The  first  enemy  he  attacked  was  Syagrius,  the  Boman  general 
and  governor  of  that  part  of  Gaul  still  independent  of  the  barbarians, 
whose  capital  was  Soissons :  Syagrius  was  vanquished,  and  the 
Franks  extended  their  limits  up  to  the  Seine.  Clovis  next  marched 
against  the  hordes  of  Allemanni,  who  were  invading  Gaul  to  wrest 
their  conquests  from  the  Franks,  and  fought  an  aetion  at  Tolbiac. 
Defeated  in .  the  early  part  of  the  day,  he  promised  to  adore  the 
God  of  Clotilda  if  he  gained  the  victory:  he  triumphed,  and  kept 
his  vow.  He  was  baptized  by  St.  Bemi,  bishop  of  the  city  of  that 
name.  "Sicambrian,  bow  thy  head!"  the  prelate  said  to  him;  "  burn 
what  thou  hast  adored,  and  adore  what  thou  hast  burned."  Three 
thousand  Frank  warriors  imitated  their  chief,  and  were  baptized 
on  the  same  day:  it  was  thus  that  the  Boman  Church  gained  access 
to  the  barbarians.  Clovis  at  once  sent  presents  to  Borne,  as  a  symbol 
of  tribute,  to  the  successor  of  the  blessed  Apostle  Peter,  and.  from 
this  moment  his  conquests   extended  over  Gaul  without  bloodshed. 

481-511]  THU  EEIGN  VF  3L0VIS.  39 

All  the  cities  in  the  north-west  as  far  as  the  Loire,  find  the  territory 
of  the  Breton  emigres,  opened  their  gates  to  his  soldiers.  The  bishops 
of  the  country  of  the  Burgundians  soon  sent  a  deputation  to  the 
conqueror,  supplicating  him  to  deliver  them  from  the  rule  of  the 
Arian  barbarians ;  and  Clovis,  on  their  solicitation,  declared  war 
against  the  Burgundian  King  Gondebaud,  the  murderer  of  Clotilda's 
father,  and  made  him  his  tributary.  Gondebaud,  when  conquered, 
promised  to  become  a  convert  to  Catholicism ;  and  most  of  the  towns 
on  the  banks  of  the  Rhine  and  the  Saone  were  united  under  the 
authority  of  the  Church  of  Rome. 

Six  years  later,  Clovis  meditated  fresh  conquests,  and  turned 
his  attention  to  the  fair  southern  provinces  occupied  by  the  Visigoths* 
He  assembled  his  warriors  on  the  Field  of  Mars,  and  said  -to  them, 
"  I  am  grieved  at  the  thought  that  these  Arians  possess  a  part  of 
Gaul :  let  us  go,  with  God's  help,  and,  after  conquering  them,  possess 
their  territory."*  War  was  at  once  decided  on.  Clovis  obtained 
for  this  expedition  the  consent  of  the  Eastern  -Emperor  Athanasius, 
and  was  supported  by  the  Burgundian  King  Gondebaud.  He  nego- 
tiated with  the  Catholic  bishops  of  the  provinces  occupied  by  the  Visi- 
goths, kept  his  troops  under  strict  discipline,  and  offered  himself  to 
the  Catholic  population  of  the  country  as  a  liberator  and  avenger. 
Then,  marching  southward,  he  terrified  Alaric  II.  by  the  rapidity 
of  his  progress.  This  prince  called  to  his  aid  his  father-in-law, 
the  great  Theodoric,  King  of  the  Yisigoths,  who  at  that  time  was 
governing  Italy  with  glory  ;f  and  not  daring,  before  the  junction 
of  their  armies,  to  engage  in  a  decisive  action  with  the  Franks, 
retreated  before  them.  Clovis,  however,  -hurrying  on,  came  up  with 
Alaric's  army  near  Youille,  three  leagues  to  the  south  of  Poitiers,  and 

*  Gregory  of  Tours  {Historic*,  Francorum,  I.  2).  This  work,  which  contains  the 
annals  of  Gaul  from  the  year  417  to  591,  is  one  of  the  most  interesting  memorials  of 
the  national  history.     It  is  written  in  Latin,  like  all  the  ecclesiastic  MSS.  of  that  period. 

+  Theodoric  had  entered  into  an  engagement  with  the  Emperor  Zeno  to  penetrate  into 
Italy,  wrest  that  country  from  Odoacer,  and  govern  it  in  the  name  of  the  Emperor  of 
the  East.  He  therefore  set  out  with  his  people,  and,  in  489,  met  the  army  of  Odoacer 
on  the  banks  of  the  Isonzo.  He  conquered  it,  and  invaded  Lombardy,  where  Odoacer, 
after  a  few  successes,  followed  by  numerous  reverses,  perished  by  assassination.  Theo- 
doric from  that  time  governed  Italy  wisely,  and  tried  to  re-establish  there  Roman  law 
and  civilization. 

40  THE   REIGN  OF  CLOYIS.  [Book  I.  Chap.  L 

attacked  it.  Alaric  lost  his  life  in  the  engagement ;  the  Franks  were 
victorious  ;  and,  before  long,  the  greater  portion  of  the  country  occupied 
by  the  Visigoths,  as  far  as  the  sources  of  the  Garonne,  obeyed  Clovis* 
Carcassonne  checked  his  victorious  army.  A  portion  of  his  forces, 
under  the  command  of  his  elder  son,  Thierry,  marched  into  Arvernia 
(Auvergne),  in  concert  with  the  army  of  the  King  of  the  Burgundians ; 
and  the  combined  armies  subjugated  the  whole  country  as  far  as  Aries, 
the  capital  of  the  Yisigothic  Empire,  to  which  they  laid  siege.  In 
the  meanwhile,  the  Ostrogoths  of  the  great  Theodoric  were  approach- 
ing, and  the  Franks  and  Burgundians,  retiring  before  them,  raised  the 
siege  of  Aries  and  Carcassonne.  Peace  was  finally  concluded,  after  a 
battle  gained  by  the  Ostrogoths.  -  A  treaty  insured  the  possession  of 
Aquitaine  and  ISTovempopulania  (Gascony)  to  Clovis ;  Theodoric, 
as  the  price  of  his  services,  claimed  the  province  of  Aries  up  to  the 
Durance;  the  Burgundians  kept  the  cities  to  the  north  of  that 
city,  with  the  exception  of  Avignon ;  and  the  monarchy  of  the 
Visigoths  was  reduced  to  Spain  and  Septimania,  of  which  Narbonne 
was  the  capital,  having,  as  its  nominal  head,  a  child  of  the  name  of 
Amalaric,  son  of  that  Alaric  II.  who  was  killed  at  Vouille,  and 
grandson  and  ward  of  Theodoric.  The  latter  remained,  in  reality, 
and  up  to  his  death,  the  absolute  sovereign  of  the  two  great  divisions 
of  the  Gothic  Empire  on  either  side  of  the  Alps. 

The  Franks,  thus  checked  in  the  south  by  the  Ostrogoths,  marched 
westward,  and  arrived  at  the  country  of  the  Armoricans,  whose  great 
towns  submitted,  and  consented  to  pay  tribute :  the  Breton  emigres 
alone  defended  the  nook  of  land  in  which  they  had  taken  refuge,  and 
managed  to  retain  their  independence. 

The  campaign  in  Aquitaine  added  greatly  to  the  military  renown  and 
power  of  Clovis,  who  received,  at  this  period,  the  consular  insignia  from 
the  Emperor  Athanasius,  then  reigning  at  Constantinople,  and  who 
had  approved  his  expedition  against  the  Goths.  Clovis  proceeded  to 
Tours  in  the  year  510,  in  order  to  inaugurate  his  consulate  in  the 
most  venerated  sanctuary  of  Catholic  Gaul,  in  the  presence  of  the 
tomb  of  St.  Martin.  He  made  his  solemn  entry  into  the  city  on 
horseback,  with  a  diadem  on  his  head,  attired  in  the  chlamys,  and 
scattering  gold  pieces  among  the  mob :  he  proceeded  in  this  way  from 

481-511]  THE    REIGN   OF   CLOYIS.  41 

the  basilica  of  St..  Martin  to  the  cathedral,  to  thank  Heaven  for  his 
victories  ;  and  from  this  day  he  was  called  Consnl  and  Augustus. 

Clovis,  upon  this  occasion,  made  considerable  donations  to  the 
churches  of  his  states,  both  in  money,  derived  from  the  immense 
possessions  of  the  treasury,  and  lands  taken  from  the  imperial 
domains,  which  the  barbarian  kings  seized  in  all  the  conquered  pro- 
vinces. The  basilica  of  St.  Martin  obtained  the  greater  share  of  his 
liberality,  and  he  even  gave  to  it  his  war- charger. 

On  his  return  from  his  warlike  expedition  into  Aquitaine,  Clovis 
fixed  his  residence  at  Paris,  in  the  ancient  Palace  of  the  Thermae, 
formerly  occupied  by  the  Caesars.  His  attention  was  then  turned  to 
the  north  of  Gaul,  which  was  occupied  by  tribes  of  his  own  race,  and 
divided  between  the  puissant  kingdom  of  the  Ripeware  or  Ripuarian 
Franks,  which  extended  along  the  two  banks  of  the  Rhine,  and  the 
kingdom  of  the  Salic,  or  Salian  Franks,  who  were  enclosed  between  the 
Scheldt,  the  Somme,  and  the  sea.  Clovis  held  beneath  his  authority 
two-thirds  of  Gaul;  but  was  still  unrecognized  by  the  tribes  of  his 
own  nation,  with  the  exception  of  the  Salic  tribe  of  Tournay,  at  the 
head  of  which  he  had  gained  all  his  victories.  Tournay,  where  he  had 
alone  succeeded  in  propagating  Christianity,  had  become  an  episcopal 
see.  The  Salic  Franks  of  the  two  other  kingdoms,  Cambray  and 
Therouanne,  and  the  Ripuarian  Franks,  had  remained  attached  to 

Clovis  resolved  to  subjugate  them  all.  Religion  had  neither  repressed 
his  ambition,  nor  softened  his  ferocity  ;  and  he  employed  cunning  and 
violence  to  attain  success.  He  had  had  as  his  companion  in  his  last 
exploits,  Chloderic,  son  of  his  ally,  Sigebert,  King  of  the  Ripuarians ; 
and  he  inflamed  the  ambition  of  the  young  prince  by  language  as  flat- 
tering as  it  was  perfidious.  Chloderic,  urged  to  parricide,  went  to  join  his 
father,  who  was  hunting  at  the  time  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Rhine, 
and,  surprising  him  in  the  wilds  of  Germany,  assassinated  him  there  ; 
after  which  he  hastened  to  Cologne,  seized  the  treasury,  and  had  him- 
self proclaimed  king.  Clovis,  constituting  himself  avenger  >  of  the 
murder  he  had  provoked,  procured  the  assassination  of  Chloderic  ;  and 
then,  setting  out  with  his  army,  seized  Verdun,  and  penetrated  into 
Cologne.     Taking  advantage  of  the  stupor  into  which  the  loss  of  their 

42  THE  KEIGN  OF  CLOVIS'.  [Book  I.  Chap/I. 

chiefs,  and  his  sudden  march,  had  plunged  the  Ripuarians,  he  affected 
to  be  horrified  by  the  crime,  and  solemnly  declared  that  he  was  inno- 
cent of  the  blood  of  Sigebert  and  Chloderic,  whose  deaths,  he  said, 
would  expose  the  Ripuarians  to  great  evils,  unless  they  accepted  his 
protection,  and  placed  themselves  under  his  laws.  His  words,  backed 
by  the  presence  of  a  victorious  army,  were  listened  to  ;  and  the 
Ripuarians  raised  Clovis  on  the  buckler,  and  proclaimed  him  their 
king.  He  then  marched  against  the  Salic  tribes  of  Courtray  and 
Therouanne,  whose  chiefs,  Cararic  and  Raghenaher,  had  maintained 
their  independence,  and  subjugated  them,  rather  by  the  aid  of  treachery 
than  by  the  force  of  arms.  Cararic  and  his  son  were  surrendered  to 
him  without  a  blow ;  Raghenaher,  deserted  on  the  battle-field,  was 
thrown  into  fetters  by  his  own  soldiers,  and  his  brother  Ricaire  shared 
his  fate.  Both  chiefs  were  brought  before  the  ferocious  conqueror. 
"  Unhappy  man !  "  said  Clovis  to  Raghenaher,  "  dost  thou  thus  dis- 
honour our  blood  ?  a  Salian  allow  himself  to  be  chained !  was  it  not 
better  to  die  ?  "  And,  so  saying,  with  one  blow  of  his  axe  he  cut  off 
his  head.  Then,  turning  to  Ricaire,  Clovis  said,  "  Why  didst  thou  not 
defend  thy  brother  better  ?  he  would  not  have  endured  this  shame ;" 
and,  raising  his  blood-stained  axe,  laid  him  also  dead  at  his  feet.  At 
the  first,  he  did  not  prove  so  terrible  in  his  treatment  of  Cararic  and 
his  son.  They  promised  to  enter  the  Church,  and  he  contented  him- 
self with  cutting  off  their  hair  as  a  sign  of  degradation.  Cararic, 
however,  unfortunately  uttered  the  imprudent  words,  "  Of  what  use  is 
it  to  cut  off  the  foliage  of  a  green  tree  ?  it  will  grow  again."  These 
words,  revealing  a  threat,  the  significance  of  which  Clovis  was  not 
slow  to  comprehend,  were  a  decree  of  death  to  father  and  son :  both 
of  them  were  massacred,  as  well  as  another  son  of  Cararic,  named 
Rignomer,  who  had  taken  refuge  in  the  city  of  Mans. 

After  all  these  murders,  the  barbarous  king  exclaimed,  "  "Wretched 
man  that  I  am !  I  have  no  relations  left ;  all  have  revolted  against  me, 
and  all  have  perished.  Is  there  not  any  member  of  my  family  still  in 
•existence  to  console  me  in  my  old  days  ?  "  This  lamentation,  the  chro- 
niclers say,  was  only  an  artifice  employed  by  Clovis  in  order  to  assure 
himself  that  no  scion  of  his  race  was  left  whom  he  might  fear  and  put 
out  of  the  way.     But  this  pitiless  desire  was  already  fulfilled,  and  of 

•481-511]  'THE   EEIGN   OF   CLOTIS.  4B 

all  the  descendants  of  Clodion  and  Merovig,  Clovis  henceforth  remained 
alone  with  his  children. 

If  the  chroniclers  have  told  the  truth  in  attributing  Clovis'  lamenta- 
tions to  interested  calculation,  which  they  do  not  condemn,  we  may  be 
also  permitted  to  believe  that  remorse  had  something  to  do  with  them. 
The  Church,  doubtless,  was  most  indulgent  to  Clovis,  for  it  was  greatly 
indebted  to  him ;  and  a  portion  of  the  clergy  applauded  the  extermination 
of  princes  of  the  royal  blood  who  were  still  attached  to  Paganism.* 
Still,  such  sanguinary  deeds  struck  the  people  with  horror,  and  the 
public  cry  found  an  echo  in  the  consciences  of  a  few  holy  priests, 
and  in  that  of  the  culprit.  Shortly  after  the  murder  of  Raghenaher 
and  Cararic,  Clovis  went  to  Tournay,  where  the  Bishop  St.  Eleutherus 
resided,  and  proceeded  to  the  church  to  pray.  The  bishop,  who  awaited 
him  on  the  threshold,  said,  "  0  King,  I  know  why  thou  comest  to 
me  !"  and  when  Clovis  protested  that  he  had  nothing  to  say  to  the 
bishop,  St.  Eleutherus  replied,  "  Speak  not  so :  thou  hast  sinned  and 
darest  not  confess  it !  "  At  these  words  the  monarch,  deeply  affected, 
confessed  that  he  felt  himself  guilty,  shed  tears,  and  begged  the  pious 
prelate  to  implore  from  Heaven  the  pardon  of  his  crimes. 

Everything  in  the  history  of  Clovis  shows  that  his  religious  actions 
were  inspired  as  much  by  the  ardour  of  a  sincere  faith  as  by  policy ; 
and  that  he  carried  out  his  mission  as  chief  and  representative  of  the 
Catholic  party  in  Gaul,  because  he  was  himself  attached  to  the 
Church  of  Rome.  He  constantly  mixed  up  religious  undertakings 
with  his  warlike  expeditions.  In  the  later  part  of  his  life  he  went 
to  Orleans,  where  he  had  convened  a  general  council  of  the  bishops 
of  the  provinces  over  which  his  authority  extended.  Those  of  the 
provinces  recently  conquered  from  the  Visigoths  were  present,  and 
one  of  them,  the  Bishop  of  Bordeaux,  presided  over  the  council, 
which  cemented  an  intimate  union  by  mutual  concessions  between 
the  Catholic  clergy  and  the  King  of  France.  Clovis  confirmed  the 
gift  of  immense  domains  to  the  Church,  which  he  established  on  the 
solid  basis  of  freehold  property ;  he  respected  the  right  of  asylum  in 
holy  places ;    he   recognized  the   privilege  of  the  clergy  to  be  only 

*  Prosternebat  enim  quotidie  Deus  hostes  ejus  sub  xnanu  ipsius  et  augebat  regnum 
«jus,  eo  quod  ambulabat  recto  corde  coram  eo  et  faciebat  quae  placita  erant  in  oculis 
«jus. — [Greg.  Tur.  Hist.,  Lib.  II.) 

44  THE   REIGN"   OP   CLOVIS.  [Book  I.  Chap.  I. 

tried  by  their  ecclesiastical  superiors,  and  liberated  their  property 
from  any  seizure  by  the  fiscal  authorities.  In  return  for  such  great 
concessions,  the  council  decided  that  no  freeman  should  receive  holy 
orders  without  the  King's  permission,  and  no  serf  without  his 
master's  knowledge.  The  King  limited  the  right  of  asylum,  pro- 
hibited the  bishops  from  excommunicating  persons  who  might  plead 
against  them,  and,  lastly,  the  assembly  submitted  all  its  decisions 
to  the  monarch's  approval.  "We  have  answered,"  the  bishops  said, 
"  the  questions  on  which  you  have  consulted  us,  and  the  articles  pre- 
sented to  us  by  you,  in  order  that,  if  your  judgment  approve  of  what 
we  have  decided,  the  decrees  passed  by  so  venerable  an  assembly  may 
be  strengthened  for  the  future  by  the  assent  of  so  great  a  king."  *  The 
council  completed  its  labours  by  drawing  up  canons  which  regulated 
the  administration  and  division  of  the  property  and  revenues  of  the 
Church,  and  settled  the  share  of  the  inferior  clergy,  schools,  the  poor, 
and  the  infirm. 

After  the  closing  of  the  Council  of  Orleans,  Clovis,  on  returning  to 
Paris,  busied  himself  with  the  propagation  of  Christianity  among  the 
Frank  tribes  which  he  had  recently  subjected  in  Northern  Gaul ;  and  it 
is  supposed  that  the  same  period  should  be  assigned  to  the  Latin 
edition  which  he  issued  of  the  Salic  law,  or,  more  correctly,  of  the 
customs  of  the  Salian  Franks,  while  modifying  them  so  as  to  render 
them  more  in  harmony  with  the  new  situation  which  he  had  made  for 
his  people  in  Gaul. 

The  work  of  Clovis  was  now  accomplished,  and  in  the  course  of 
the  same  year  (511)  he  died  at  Paris,  after  bestowing  fresh  largesses  on 
the  clergy,  and  dividing  his  states  between  his  four  sons,  Thierry, 
Clodomir,  Childebert,  and  Clothair,  who  were  all  recognized  as  kings. 

In  order  to  form  a  just  estimate  of  the  character  of  this  king  we 
must  carry  back  our  thoughts  to  the  age  in  which  he  lived.  We  are 
bound  to  remember  that  there  were  two  men  in  Clovis — the  barbarian 
chief  and  the  Christian  neophyte  ;  and  if,  on  one  hand,  we  are  sur- 
prised to  find  in  some  of  his  actions  so  many  vestiges  of  barbarity, 
we  are,  on  the  other,  astonished  at  what  he  did  to  elevate  his  people 
and  himself  to  a  higher  stage  of  belief  and  civilization.  An  imposing 
and  terrible  grandeur  marked  his  exploits  as  well  as  his  misdeeds, 
*  Concil.  Auril.,  Epist.  ad  Chlodoveum  regem. 

481-511]  THE   EEIGN   OF   CEOVIS.  45 

He  joined  to  the  lively  intellect  that  conceives,  the  strong  and  active 
will  that  executes  ;  and  God,  who  allowed  him  to  combine  the  talents 
of  the  warrior  with  those  of  the  politician,  set  upon  him,  at  an  early- 
age,  the  seal  of  the  conqueror.  He  was  the  instrument  employed  by 
Providence  to  lead  the  powerful  nation  of  the  Franks  to  Christianity, 
and  to  effect  the  fusion  of  the  barbarous  nations  with  the  civilized 
peoples  of  the  Roman  world, — a  fusion  which  could  alone  be  effected 
by  means  of  religion,  and  which  was  not  complete  until  the  con- 
quering people  had  adopted  the  faith  of  the  conquered.  The  popula- 
tion of  Gaul  being  subjected  to  the  Church  of  Rome,  Clovis,  the 
disciple  of  the  same  Church,  was,  on  that  account,  better  able  to 
subjugate  it  than  were  the  Arian  kings  of  the  Burgundians  and  Visi- 
goths, who  had  separated  from  the  Church.  He  understood  his 
situation  and  the  part  he  was  called  on  to  play.  It  was,  above  all,  as 
chief  of  the  religious  party  and  defender  of  the  national  faith  that  he 
offered  himself  to  the  native  tribes  and  Catholic  clergy  of  Graul :  he 
restored  the  shaken  authority  of  the  Church  from  the  shores  of  the 
German  Ocean  to  the  Pyrenees,  and  from  the  shores  of  the  Atlantic 
to  the  forests  of  Germany.  Rome,  grateful  to  Clovis,  decreed  him 
the  glorious  title  of  "  Elder  Son  of  the  Church,"  and  he  transmitted 
it  to  all  his  successors. 

46  CUSTOMS   OF.  THE   FRANKS.  [Book  I.  Chap.  M 






Before  continuing  the  history,  of  the  Franks  under  the  race  of 
Clovis,  it  will  be  advisable  to  take  a  glance  at  their  religion,  laws,  and 
customs,  and  to  explain  the  relations  of  the  conquerors  to  the 

Royalty  among  the  Franks  was  at  once  elective  and  hereditary: 
the  title  of  king,  in  the  German  language,*  merely  signified  chief,  and 
was  decreed  by  election.  On  the  death  of  a  king,  the  Franks  assem- 
bled for  the  purpose  of  choosing  his  successor :  and  we  have  seen 
that  they  chose  him  from  one  family,  that  of  Merovig,  and  that,  when 
they  had  nominated  him,  they  consecrated  him  by  raising  him  on  a 
buckler,  amid  noisy  shouts.  The  chief  mission  of  the  ruler  they  gave 
themselves  was  to  lead  them  against  the  foe,  and  to  pillage :  he  re- 
ceived the  largest  share  of  the  booty,  frequently  consisting  of  towns 
with  their  territory,  which  constituted  the  royal  domain,  and  the 
treasure  with  which  the  king  recompensed  his  antrustions  or  leudes, 
the  name  given  to  the  comrades  in  arms  of  the  prince,  who  devoted 
themselves  to  his  fortunes  and  swore  fidelity  to  him.  These  leudes 
formed  a  separate  class,  from  which  the  majority  of  the  officers  and 
magistrates  was  selected.  The  following  anecdote  will  instruct  us  as 
to  what  were  the  limits  and  extent  of  the  royal  power.  After  the 
battle  of  Soissons,  Clovis  wished  to  withdraw  from  the  division  of 
the  booty  a  precious  vase,  claimed  by  St.  Remi.  All  his  warriors 
consented,  except  one,  who,  breaking  the  vessel  with  a  blow  of   his 

*  Konig,  a  king,  derived  from  the  verb  konnen,  to  be  able,  or  powerful.  This  word 
still  exists  among  the  Scotch,  in  the  modified  form  of  "  canny,"  while  we  have  perverted 
it  into  "  cunning." — L.  W. 

51^-638]  CUSTOMS  OF   THE   FRANKS.  4£. 

axe,  said,  brutally,  to  the  King*,  "Thou  shalt  only  have,  like  the  rest,, 
what  chance  gives  thee!"  Clovis  concealed  his  passion;  but  the 
following  year,  while  reviewing  his  troops,  he  stopped  before  this 
soldier,  and  tore  from  him  his  weapon,  which,  he  said,  was  in  a  bad 
condition.  "  Remember  the  vase  of  Soissons !"  said  the  King,  and 
cleft  his  skull  with  a  blow  of  the  battle-axe. 

When  a  king  died,  his  sons  inherited  his  domain;  and  being  richer 
than  their  companions  in  arms,  were  in  a  better  position  than  other 
persons  to  secure  suffrages.  It  was  thus  that  the  supreme  authority 
was  handed  down  from  father  to  son  in  the  race  of  Clovis,  at  first 
by  election,  and  then  by  usage,  which  in  time  became  law. 

The  sons  of  Clovis,  having  all  been  recognized  as  kings,  each  took 
up  his  abode  in  the  chief  city  of  his  dominions,  so  that  there  were 
from  this  time  four  capitals,  Paris,  Orleans,  Soissons,  and  Reims.*  All . 
these  capitals,  residences  of  kings,  were  chosen  to  the  north  of  the 
Loire,  in  a  rather  limited  space,  because  the  countries  in  which  they 
were  situated  were  alone  considered  the  land  of  the  Franks.  The 
provinces  to  the  south  of  the  Loire  were  still  filled  with  reminiscences 
of  the  Romans.  The  great  cities,  far  richer  and  more  populous  than 
those  of  the  north,  and  brilliant  with  the  relics  of  imperial  grandeur, 
struck  the  barbarous  Franks  with  a  stupid  astonishment.  They  found 
themselves  uncomfortable  amid  the  ruins  of  the  civilized  world,  and 
hence  they  only  sojourned  there  with  repugnance.  They  left  their 
administration  to  the  municipal  bodies  and  the  bishops,  and  contented 
themselves  with  occupying  the  country  by  bodies  of  troops,  which  kept 
it  in  obedience  by  the  terror  which  they  everywhere  inspired.  The 
Church  was,  at  that  time,  the  sole  power  that  contended  against 
barbarism,  and  the  only  curb  on  the  ferocious  passions  of  the  con- 
querors;  who,  prior  to  Clovis,  had  no  other  faith  but  that  of  the 
Scandinavian  Odin,  and  had  only  learned  to  expect  in  another  life  the 
thoroughly  sensual  joys  of  the  Walhalla,  a  palace  which  they  believed 
to  exist  in  the  clouds,  and  where,  blending  festivity  with  combats, 
they  promised  themselves,  as  the  supreme  felicity  after  death,  to  quaff, 
beer  or  hydromel  out  of  the  skulls  of  their  enemies.  When,  following  . 
the  example  of  Clovis,  they  were  converted  in  a  mass  to  Christianity, ; 
without  being  instructed  in  it,  the  majority  of  them  remained  igno-.- 
*  Metz  was  soon  after  selected  as  the  capital  in  the  place  of  the  last-named  city. 

48  .  CUSTOMS   OP  THE   FEANKS.  [Book  I.  CiiAP.  II.,: 

rant  of  that  which,  was  sublime    and  spiritual    in  the   religion  they 
had  embraced.     Coarse    and   rude,  they  required  an  external   faith, 
which  terrified  them  by  carnal  menaces,  and  captivated  them  by  the 
majesty  of  its  spectacles ;  and  therefore  we  can  easily  conceive  that 
Catholicism  triumphed  over  the  rival  creeds.     In  fact,  the  images  of 
saints,  the  relics  of  martyrs,  the  renown  of  the  miracles  which  were 
said  to  be  effected  by  them,  and  the  pomp  of  the  ceremonies,  struck 
the  imagination  of  the  barbarians   with  astonishment   and   respect. 
The  civil  power  of  the  bishops  ;  the  external  and  visible  hierarchy  of 
the  clergy,  whose  head  was  at  Rome,  in  the  Eternal  City  ;   and,  above 
all,    the   great   name    of  Rome,    respected   even  by  her    conquerors, 
gave  the  Catholic  clergy  a  power  over  this  untameable  population,  far 
greater  than,  the  priests  of  any "  other  Christian   Church  could  have 
obtained.     The  clergy,  besides,  were  distinguished  at  this  time  by 
great  virtues,   and   made  energetic  efforts  to  combat  the  unbridled 
passions  of  the  people  and  the  kings.     The  barbarism  was,  however, 
still  so  great  that  men  treated  God  as  they  would  have  liked  them- 
selves to  be  treated,  hoping  to  disarm  His  justice  and  turn  away  His 
wrath  by  giving  Him  gold,  jewels,  horses,   and  estates,  with  which 
they  enriched  the  Church,  and  enabled  the  clergy  to  maintain  their 
necessary  ascendancy  over  the  converted  conquerors. 

At  the  moment  when  the  Franks  invaded  Gaul,  there  were  numerous 
monasteries  in  that  country,  the  most  ancient  of  which  was  Mar- 
moutiers,  near  Tours,  founded  by  St.  Martin,  who  introduced  cenobitic 
life  into   Gaul.     The  following  ages  witnessed  the  foundation  of  a 
great  number  of  other  pious  establishments,  among  the  most  useful  of 
which  we  may  distinguish  those  of  the  illustrious  order  of  the  Bene- 
dictines, founded  in  Italy  in  the  sixth  century  by  St.   Benedict,  and 
which  soon  spread  its  numerous  ramifications  over  the  whole  of  Europe. 
The  adepts  of  this  order  were  subjected  to  the  three  vows  of  chastity, 
poverty,  and  obedience ;    and  St.   Benedict  had  also   prescribed  for 
them  prayer,  study,  manual  labour,  and  the  instruction  of  youth.     ISTo 
religious  order  contributed  more  than  this  one  to  the  progress  of  letters 
and  the  sciences.  It  was  necessary,  amid  the  perpetual  scenes  of  fighting, 
pillage,  and  crime,  that  the  unhappy  should  find  somewhere  an  asylum 
against  violence  ;  and  when  the  soil  was  bristling  with  armed  men, 
whose  only  thought  was  to  destroy  each  other,  it  was  important  that 

511-638]  CUSTOMS    OP   THE    FRANKS.  49 

large  associations,  animated  by  a  pious  and  intelligent  zeal,  should 
devote  themselves  to  the  fatiguing  task  of  draining  marshes,  clearing 
land,  collecting  the  information  contained  in  the  scattered  manu- 
scripts which  had  escaped  so  many  devastations,  and  in  opening 
schools,  and  handing  down  to  posterity  the  knowledge  of  contem- 
porary facts.  Such  was  the  laudable  occupation  of  the  first  in- 
habitants of  monasteries,  and  it  was  thus  that  they  deserved  the 
respect  and  gratitude  of  the  nations. 

The  authority  of  the  kings  was  purely  military,  and  the  legislative 
power  belonged  to  the  entire  nation  of  the  Franks,  who  assembled 
under  arms  in  the  month  of  March  or  May,  whence  these  malls,  or 
national  comitia,  have  been  entitled  "  the  assemblies  of  the  field  of 
March"  and  "the  field  of  May."  They  took  place  regularly  every  year 
in  the  early  period  of  the  conquest ;  but  when  the  Franks,  after  becom- 
ing landowners,  were  rapidly  scattered  over  the  soil  of  Gaul,  they 
neglected  to  assemble,  the  kings  ceased  to  convoke  them  regularly, 
and  the  legislative  power  passed  into  the  hands  of  the  monarchs,  their 
officers,  and  the  bishops.  Each  city  was  administered  by  its  own 
municipality,  under  the  direction  of  the  bishop,  who  was  elected  by 
the  people  and  the  clergy  of  his  diocese. 

Justice  emanated  from  the  people.  All  the  freemen  in  each  district, 
designated  by  the  name  of  armans  or  rachimbourgs,  had  the  right  of 
being  present  at  the  courts,  where  they  performed  the  duties  of 
judges,  under  the  presidency  of  the  royal  officers,  men,  counts,  or  cen- 
turions. No  subordination  existed  between  the  several  courts,  and  no 
appeal  was  admitted.  Each  of  the  tribes  that  occupied  the  soil  of 
Gaul  retained  its  own  laws.  The  Gallo- Romans  continued  to  be 
governed,  in  their  civil  relations,  by  the  Theodosian  code  ;  *  the  Salian 
and  Ripuarian  Franks  and  the  Burgundians  each  had  a  special  code. 

The  law  which  the  Salic  Franks  obeyed,  and  which  obtained  from 
them  the  name  of  the  Salic  law,  was  not  drawn  up  till  after- 
the  conquest ;  but  it  was  based  on  maxims  long  anterior  to  the 
invasion  of  Gaul  by  the  Franks.  This  law,  moreover, '  established 
offensive  distinctions  between  the  races  of  the  Franks  and  Gallo- 
Romans.     The  reparation  for  the  heaviest  crimes  was  estimated  in 

*  This  was  the  name  given  to  the  collection  of  Roman  laws  dra,vn  up  by  order  of  the 
Emperor  Theodoric  II.,  and  promulgated  in  433.     This  was  the  first  official  code. 


50  CUSTOMS    OF   THE    FRANKS.  [BOOK  I.  CHAP.  II. 

money ;  and,  by  consenting  to  pay  a  certain  snm,  any  man  could  with 
impunity  commit  robbery,  murder,  or  arson.  In  this  species  of  com- 
position the  law  always  valued  the  life  of  a  Frank  at  double  that  of  a 
Roman.  Churchmen,  however,  were  respected,  and  enjoyed  several 
privileges.  Under  the  sons  of  Clovis,  the  penal  laws  became  more 
severe,  and  the  penalty  of  death  was  substituted  in  certain  cases  for 
fines.  The  law  of  the  Ripuarian  Franks,  promulgated  by  Thierry  I., 
established  compensation  for  offences  on  principles  similar  to  those  of 
the  Salic  law.  The  law  of  the  Burgundians,  called  the  lot  Gombette, 
after  Grondebaud,  its  first  author,  was  more  favourable  to  the  old 
inhabitants  than  the  laws  of  the  Salic  and  Ripuarian  Franks ; 
and,  resembling  in  this  point  the  law  of  the  Visigoths,  it  established 
no  distinction  between  the  Romans  and  the  conquerors,  for  crimes 
committed  on  the  person. 

All  the  laws  of  the  barbarians  prove  that  these  nations  had  an 
"unbounded  faith  in  the  immediate  and  constant  intervention  of  the 
Divinity  in  human  interests.  Some  established  as  judicial  proof  the 
oath  of  the  friends  and  relatives  of  the  accused  person  or  the  debtor ; 
others  the  issue  of  a  duel  between  the  parties  ;  while  others,  again, 
prescribed  the  ordeal  of  fire  and  water.  The  accused  was  obliged  to 
seize  a  red-hot  iron  bar,  or  plunge  his  hand  into  boiling  water :  his 
arm  was  then  carefully  wrapped  up,  and,  at  the  expiration  of  a  certain 
number  of  days,  if  the  burn  left  traces  the  unhappy  man  was  punished 
as  guilty ;  but,  if  no  traces  were  left,  his  innocence  was  proclaimed. 
They  believed  that  the  judgment  of  Grod  Himself  was  thus  obtained, 
just  as  it  was  by  the  duel. 

In  Graul,  after  the  conquest,  a  distinction  was  made  between  the 
freemen  (possessors  of  independent  estates  or  owners  of  benefices) 
the  colonists,  and  the  slaves  or  serfs.  The  first  among  the  freemen, 
whether  Franks  or  Grallo-Romans,  were  the  leudes,  or  companions  of 
the  kings,  and  possessors  of  the  royal  favour ;  after  the  freemen,  or 
owners  of  the  soil,  came  the  colonists,  who  cultivated  it  in  considera- 
tion of  rent  or  tribute  ;  and,  lastly,  the  serfs,  some  of  whom  were 
attached  to  the  person  of  the  master,  and  others  to  the  soil,  with 
which  they  were  sold  and  handed  over  like  cattle. 

The  clergy,  as  we  have  seen,  formed  a  separate  and  very  powerful 
class.     All  the  public  offices  which,   to  be  properly  filled,    required 

511-638]  GAUL   UNDER   THE    SONS    OP    CLOVIS.  51 

learning  and  knowledge,  were  given  to  the  clerks  or  chnrchmen,  owing 
to  their  superior  instruction  ;  and  in  this  way  they  found  means  to 
increase  the  wealth  which  they  derived  from  the  liberality  and  piety 
of  the  faithful. 

The  territorial  estates  were  divided,  among  the  barbarians,  into  two 
chief  classes,  allodia,  and  benefices,  or  fiefs.  The  allodia  were  estates 
free  from  any  charge,  and  belonging  entirely  either  to  the  conquerors 
or  the  conquered  among  the  Franks :  by  virtue  of  the  Salic  law,  they 
could  not  be  inherited  by  females.  The  benefices  were  lands  which 
the  kings  detached  from  the  royal  domain  in  order  to  reward  their 
leudes.  The  possession  of  benefices  entailed  the  obligation  of 
military  service  ;  and,  being  only  held  for  life,  they  could  be  recalled. 
The  offices  of  dukes  and  counts,  possessed  by  the  first  lords,  were  not 
transmissible  by  right  of  inheritance  to  their  children.  But,  after  a 
time,  the  bravest  warriors,  enriched  by  the  royal  favour,  formed  a 
dangerous  aristocracy :  they  became  more  powerful  in  proportion  as 
the  royal  authority  grew  weaker,  and,  their  claims  having  increased 
with  their  power,  they  rendered  their  domains  and  titles  hereditary  in 
their  families.  This  usurpation  on  the  part  of  the  nobles  was  one  of 
the  principal  causes  of  the  downfall  of  the  Merovingian  dynasty. 



Fratricidal  wars  and  frightful  crimes  marked  the  reign  of  the 
descendants  of  Clovis.  The  sons  of  that  prince  divided  his  states 
among  them  with  barbarous  ignorance,  and  this  clumsy  division  was 
the  source  of  sanguinary  quarrels. 

Thierry  resided  at  Metz,  the  capital  of  Eastern  France  ;  Clothair  at 
Soissons  ;  Childebert  at  Paris ;  and  Clodomir  at  Orleans.  The  last 
three  also  shared  among  them  the  lands  and  cities  conquered  in  Aqui- 
taine.  At  this  period  a  great  number  of  German  tribes  formed  an 
alliance  with  the  Franks,  whose  confederation  extended  to  the  Elbe. 
The  Frisons,  Saxons,  and  Bavarians  were  included  in  this  league  ;  the 
Thuringians,  allied  with  the  Varnians  and  Herules,  had  spread  along 
the  banks  of  the  Elbe  and  the  Neckar,  where  they  had  formed  a 
new  monarchy.      Sullied  with    fearful    atrocities,  they  resisted    the 

e  2 

52  GAUL   UNDER   THE    SONS   OF    CLOVIS.  [Book  I.  Chap.  II 

Franks,  who  marched  against  them  under  Thierry  and  Clothair,  and 
defeated  them  in  two  battles,  assassinated  the  Thuringian  princes, 
put  a  part  of  the  nation  to  the  sword,  and  attached  Thuringia  to  the 
monarchy  of  the  Franks. 

Sigismund,  son  of  Gondebaud,  who  assassinated  Chilperic,  the 
father  of  Qneen  Clotilda,  was  reigning  at  this  time  in  Burgundy. 
Forty  years  had  elapsed  since  the  murder,  but  the  widow  of  Clovis 
swore  to  take  vengeance  for  it,  although  the  murderer  was  no 
longer  in  existence.  She  resolved  to  make  the  son  expiate  the 
father's  crime ;  and,  collecting  her  sons  together,  she  made  them 
promise  to  avenge  the  death  of  Chilperic,  their  grandfather.  Clodomir 
and  Clothair  at  once  entered  Burgundy,  gained  a  battle,  made  King 
Sigismund  a  prisoner,  and  threw  him  down  a  well  with  his  wife  and 
children.  Gondemar,  brother  of  the  conquered  king,  became  his 
avenger.  He  defeated  Clodomir's  army  at  Yeseronce,  on  the  banks 
of  the  Rhone,  killed  Clodomir,  expelled  the  Franks,  and  was  recognized 
as  king  by  the  Burgundians,  over  whom  he  reigned  till  the  year  532. 
Clothair  arid  his  brother  Childebert  then  attacked  him,  conquered  him, 
and  took  possession  of  the  kingdom. 

These  two  princes  sullied  their  character  by  a  frightful  crime  after 
the  death  of  their  brother  Clodomir,  King  of  Orleans,  who  had  left  three 
children  of  tender  age,  who  were  being  brought  up  by  their  grandmother 
Clotilda.  Clothair  and  Childebert  coveted  the  inheritance  of  their 
nephews;  and,  in  order  to  get  them  into  their  power,  promised  to  have 
them  crowned.  The  children  went  in  high  glee  to  join  their  uncles, 
followed  by  their  servants  and  tutors ;  but  all  at  once,  they  were  sepa- 
rated from  them,  and  the  servants  were  thrown  into  dungeons.  Clo- 
thair and  Childebert  then  sent  to  Clotilda,  their  mother,  a  pair  of 
scissors  and  a  dagger — directing  her  to  choose  between  a  monastery 
and  death  for  her  grandchildren.  "  Sooner  death  !"  replied  the  heart- 
broken woman.  The  kings,  on  receiving  this  answer,  proceeded 
straight  to  their  nephews.  Clothair  murdered  two  of  them  with  his 
own  hands,  and  their  servants  were  also  massacred.  The  third  son 
of  Clodomir,  of  the  name  of  Clodoald,  escaped  from  the  fury  of  his 
uncles,  became  a  monk,  and  founded  the  monastery  of  St.  Clodoald 
(Saint  Cloud). 

Thierry   I.,  the   eldest    of  the  sons   of   Clovis,   died  in  534,   after 

511-638]  GAUL   UNDEE   THE    SONS   OP   CLOVIS.  53 

ravaging  Auvergne,  which  had  tried  to  shake  off  his  yoke.     His  son, 
Theodebert,  succeeded  him. 

The  empire  of  the  Goths  was  at  this  period  beginning  to  decline. 
The  great  Theodoric  was  no  longer  alive.  This  prince  had  governed 
Italy,  Spain,  and  Southern  Gaul :  he  had  reconquered  from  the  Franks 
a  large  portion  of  the  provinces  taken  from  the  Visigoths  after  the 
battle  of  Vouille,  and  had  striven  to  re-establish  in  his  states  the  laws, 
customs,  and  manners  of  the  Roman  Empire  ;  but  he  had  no  son  to 
whom  to  hand  down  his  immense  kingdom.  He  had  only  two 
daughters,  Amalasontha  and  Theodegotha,  and  by  them  two  grand- 
sons, Athalaric  and  Amalaric,  between  whom  he  divided  his  empire. 
Athalaric  had  the  kingdom  of  the  Ostrogoths  in  Italy,  with  the  pro- 
vinces of  G-aul  up  to  the  Rhone  and  the  Durance.  Amalaric,  the  son  of 
Alaric  II.,  and  Theodegotha,  reigned  over  the  Visigoths  in  Spain  and 
Gaul,  from  the  base  of  the  Pyrenees  as  far  as  the  Lot  and  the  Rhone. 
This  prince  resided  at  Karbonne,  and  espoused  Clotilda,  daughter  of 
Clovis.  Clotilda  was  a  Catholic  among  an  Arian  people.  Outraged 
by  the  populace,  she  was  treated  still  more  cruelly  by  her  husband. 
Her  blood  flowed  :  she  staunched  it  with  a  veil,  and  a  faithful  servant 
conveyed  to  the  Frank  kings  this  blood-stained  veil  as  an  appeal  to 
their  vengeance.  Inflamed  with  fury  at  the  sight,  Childebert  set  out, 
and  led  an  army  of  Franks  to  the  frontier  of  Septimania,*  where  he- 
defeated  the  Visigoths.  Amalaric  fled  in  terror  to  Barcelona,  and 
perished  there  by  assassination.  Childebert  gave  up  Narbonne  to 
pillage,  and  then  returned  to  Paris,  loaded  with  the  spoils  of  the 
rich  province;  but  as  he  neglected  to  secure  the  possession,  it  reverted 
to  the  Visigoths  eventually.  The  Franks,  a  few  years  later,  crossed 
the  Alps,  and  advanced  into  Spain,  as  far  as  Saragossa.  This  fortress 
arrested  them,  and  they  recrossed  the  mountains,  without  obtaining 
any  serious  or  durable  result  from  the  expedition. 

The  race  of  Theodoric  ceased,  at  about  the  same  period,  to  reign  in. 
Italy,  where  his  grandson  Athalaric  died  young.  The  Ostrogoths,  after 
his  death,  and  that  of  his  successor,  Theodatus,  the  second  husband  of 
his  mother,  Amalasontha,  selected  as  their  ruler  Vitiges,  the  most 
skilful  of  their  generals.     They  were  at  that  time  engaged  in  a  war 

*  The  name  of  Septimania  was  beginning  to  prevail  over  that  of  Narbonensis  Prima, 
given  by  the  Romans  to  the  country  which  was  afterwards  called  Languedoc. 

54  GAUL   UNDER   THE    SONS    OF   CLOYIS.  [Book  I.  Chap.  II. 

■with.  Justinian,  the  Emperor  of  the  East,  who  asked  the  support  of 
the  Frank  king,  Theodebert  I.,  son  of  Thierry  I.,  against  the  Ostro- 
goths. Theodebert,  equally  appealed  to  by  the  latter  to  help  them 
against  Justinian,  passed  the  Alps  at  the  head  of  a  numerous  army, 
and  received  gold  from  both  sides  :  then,  breaking  his  engagements, 
he  made  a  frightful  carnage  of.  both  armies,  ravaged  Lombardy  with, 
fire  and  sword,  burned  Genoa  and  Pavia,  and  extorted  Provence  from 
the  Ostrogoths ;  whose  empire,  already  tottering,  finally  succumbed 
beneath  the  attacks  of  Belisarius  and  ISTarses,  the  illustrious  generals 
of  Justinian. 

Theodebert  was  meditating  an  invasion  of  the  Empire  of  the  East, 
when  he  died  in  548,  leaving  the  throne  to  his  son  Theodobald,  who 
only  reigned  seven  years.  On  the  death  of  the  latter,  Clothair,  his 
great-uncle,  seized  his  kingdom :  his  other  grand-uncle,  Childebert, 
jealous  of  this  usurpation,  set  up  against  Olothair  his  son  Ohrammus, 
and  at  first  supported  him  with  his  army,  but  himself  soon  fell  ill  at 
Paris  and  died.  Clothair  inherited  his  kingdom,  pursued  his  own 
rebellious  son,  and  had  him  burned  alive,  with  his  wife  and  daughters. 
He  had  now  succeeded  his  three  elder  brothers,  and  held  under  his 
sway  the  whole  of  Roman  Gaul,  in  which  were  comprised  Savoy, 
Switzerland,  the  Rhenish  provinces,  and  Belgium.  Septimania  alone 
remained  to  the  Visigoths  :  Clothair's  authority  extended  beyond  the 
Rhine,  over  the  Duchies  of  Germany,  Thuringia,  and  Bavaria,  and  the 
countries  of  the  Saxons  and  Prisons.  He  made  no  use  of  this  colossal 
power,  and  the  only  memorial  that  remained  of  the  two  years  during 
which  he  governed  the  monarchy  of  Prance  alone,  was  the  murder  of 
his  son.  Clothair  was  taken  ill  a  year  after  this  horrible  execution, 
and,  amazed  at  the  approach  of  death,  exclaimed,  "  Who  is  this  King 
of  Heaven  who  thus  kills  the  great  kings  of  the  earth  ?  " 

This  princely  murderer  of  his  family  had  among  his  wives  a 
princess  of  the  name  of  Radegonde,  daughter  of  the  last  King  of 
Thuringia,  who,  owing  to  her  rare  education  and  holy  and  noble  life, 
presents,  on  the  throne,  a  remarkable  contrast  to  the  barbarous 
manners  and  almost  general  ignorance  of  her  age.  Having  volun- 
tarily left  the  royal  residence  for  a  cloister,  she  founded  near  Poitiers 
the  celebrated  convent  of  Saint  Croix,  where  she  divided  her  leisure 
between  the  cultivation  of  letters  and  the  duties  of  piety  and   un- 

511-638]  GAUL   UNDER   THE    GRANDSONS   OF   CLOTHAIR   I.  55 

bounded  charity.     She  died  there  in  589,  and  her  tomb  may  still  be 



Clothair  I.  left  four  sons — Caribert,  Gontran,  Chilperic,  and  Sigebert 
— who  divided  his  states  among  them.  Caribert  lived  but  a  short 
while,  and  left  no  male  child :  from  his  death  dates  a  fresh  division 
between  the  three  surviving  brothers,  which  it  is  important  to  under- 
stand thoroughly.  The  vast  country  situated  between  the  Rhine  and 
the  Loire  was  divided  in  two,  as  if  a  diagonal  line  were  drawn  from 
north  to  south,  from  the  mouths  of  the  Scheldt  to  the  environs  of 
Langres,  near  the  sources  of  the  Saone  :  the  part  situated  to  the  west 
of  this  line  was  named  Neustria  (Neuster  :  west) — and  the  other  part, 
to  the  east,  was  named  Austrasia  (Ostro  :  east).  Neustria  fell,  in  the 
partition,  to  Chilperic,  and  Austrasia  to  Sigebert.  Burgundy  formed 
the  third  great  division  of  Gaul,  and  fell  to  the  share  of  Gontran. 
Yast  countries,  afterwards  conquered,  were  regarded  as  appendices  of 
the  Frank  Empire,  and  it  was  arranged  that  a  separate  division  should 
be  made  of  them  :  these  were  Provence,  Aquitaine,  and  Gascony.  The 
first  was  attached  to  Eastern  France,  Austrasia  and  Burgundy, 
and  was  divided  between  Sigebert  and  Gontran;  the  second  was 
divided  into  three  parts,  reputed  equal,  each  of  which  formed  a 
small  Aquitaine  ;  and  lastly,  Gascony  was  divided  between  Chilperic 
and  Sigebert,  to  the  exclusion  of  Gontran.  The  German  provinces, 
governed  by  dukes  nominated  by  the  kings,  were  scarce  taken  into 
consideration  in  this  division ;  they  were  allotted,  with  Austrasia,  to 
Sigebert,  who,  in  order  to  watch,  over  them  better,  transferred  his 
residence  from  Reims  to  Metz,  which  he  made  his  capital.  The  three 
brothers  made  a  strange  convention  with  regard  to  the  city  of  Paris : 
owing  to  its  importance,  they  promised  that  neither  should  enter  it 
without  the  consent  of  his  brothers.  This  celebrated  division  of  the 
inheritance  of  Clothair  I.  was  made  in  the  year.  567,  and  from  this 

*  We  refer  our  readers  to  the  interesting  history  of  Sainte  Radegonde  in  M.  Augustin 
Thierry's  charming  Eecits  Merovingiens. 

56  GAUL   UNDER   THE    GRANDSONS    OF   CLOTHAIR   I.      [Book  I.  Chap.  II. 

moment  commenced  the  long  and  bloody  rivalry  between  Neustria  and 

Chilperic  and  Sigebert  distinguished  themselves  by  their  fratricidal 
hatred ;  and  were  surpassed  in  audacity,  ambition,  and  barbarity,  by 
their  wives,  whose  names  acquired  a  great  and  melancholy  celebrity.  . 

Sigebert  had  married  Brunhilda,  daughter  of  the  King  of  the 
Visigoths  ;  and  Chilperic,  surnamed  the  Nero  of  France,  jealous  of  the 
alliance  contracted  by  his  brother,  put  aside  the  claims  of  his  mistress, 
Fredegonde,  in  order  to  espouse  Gralswintha,  sister  of  Brunhilda.  He 
had,  at  this  period,  three  sons  by  his  first  wife  Andovera,  whom  he 
repudiated,  and  imprisoned  at  Rouen.  Shortly  after  his  second 
marriage,  he  had  Gralswintha  strangled,  at  the  instigation  of  Fredegonde, 
and  took  the  latter  for  his  wife.  Brunhilda  swore  to  avenge  her  sister, 
and  the  enmity  of  the  two  queens  caused  streams  of  blood  to  flow. 

After  an  unsuccessful  war  against  his  brother  Sigebert,  the  King  of 
ISTeustria  submitted,  asked  for  peace,  and  accepted  a  treaty,  which  he 
violated  almost  immediately  afterwards  by  taking  up  arms  again. 
Sigebert  marched  on  Paris,  which  city  Chilperic  had  seized,  laid  the 
environs  of  the  city  waste,  took  it  by  storm,  and  forced  his  brother  to 
shut  himself  up  in  Tournay  with  his  wife  and  children.  The  Australian 
army  invested  the  latter  town,  and  Sigebert  declared  that  he  would 
kill  Chilperic ;  but  he  wished  first  to  have  himself  elected  King  of 
Keustria,  and  designated  for  this  solemnity  the  royal  domain  of  Vitry, 
near  Douai.  Germanus,*  Bishop  of  Paris,  tried  in  vain  to  move 
Sigebert  by  exciting  the  pity  of  Queen  Brunhilda,  who  was  even  more 
ardent  for  vengeance  than  her  husband.  He  addressed  the  King 
himself  in  these  words  :  "  King  Sigebert,  if  thou  wilt  renounce  the 
thought  of  killing  thy  brother,  thou  shalt  be  victorious  ;  if  thou  hast 
another  thought,  thou  shalt  die."  Sigebert  persisted  in  his  fratricidal 
projects.  He  proceeded  to  Vitry,  where  he  was  raised  on  the  buckler, 
and  proclaimed  King  of  Neustria  in  the  assembly  of  the  Franks ; 
but,  in  the  midst  of  the  rejoicings,  two  young  emissaries  of  Frede- 
gonde stabbed  the  King  with  poisoned  knives.  He  died,  and  his  army 
dispersed  :  Chilperic  regained  his  crown  and  Paris,  into  which  city  he 
entered  as  a  victor. 

*  The  Church  canonized  him,  and  he  is  known  by  the  name  of  St.  Germain. 

511-638]  RIVALRY    OF    FREDEGONDE    AND    BRUNHILD  A.  57 

The  widow  of  the  assassinated  King  Sigebert,  Brunhilda,  was  still 
in  that  city  with  her  two  daughters  and  her  youthful  son,  Childebert. 
By  order  of  Chilperic  she  was  arrested  and  kept  as  a  prisoner,  with 
her  children,  in  the  old  imperial  Palace  of  the  Thermae  ;  but  Gronde- 
baud,  an  Austrasian  noble,  contrived  the  escape  of  young  Childebert. 
The  royal  child  was  let  down  in  a  basket  from,  a  window  of  the  palace  ; 
and  a  faithful  servant  placed  him  behind  him  on  a  horse,  and  carried 
him  to  Metz,  where  Child.ebert  II.  was  proclaimed  King  of  Austrasia 
in  575. 

King  Chilperic  then  sent  Brunhilda,  with  her  two  daughters,  in  exile 
to  Houen,  where  she  was  joined  by  Merovic,  the  son  of  Chilperic  and 
the  unfortunate  Andovera,  and  himself  exposed  to  the  furious  hatred 
of  his  formidable  mother-in-law,  Fredegonde.     Merovic  conceived  a 
violent  passion  for  Brunhilda,  which  she  returned ;  and  they  asked  for 
the  nuptial  blessing  at  the  hands   of  Bishop  Pretextatus,  who  united 
them   in   secret,    and   thus    drew    down  on  himself  the  implacable 
vengeance    of    Fredegonde.       Chilperic,    speedily    informed   of    the 
marriage,  took  umbrage    at   it,    and   hastened   to  Rouen,  where  he 
separated  the  couple.     Brunhilda  regained  her  liberty,  and  fled  into 
Austrasia ;   but  Merovic  was  arrested  by  his  father's  orders,  under- 
went the  tonsure,  was  ordained  priest,  in  spite  of  his  protests,  and  in 
defiance  of  the  canons  of  the  Church,  and  exiled  to  the  monastery  of 
St.  Calais,  near  Mans.     While  being  taken  by  an  armed  body  to  the 
place    of    his    exile,    Merovic,    escaping    from   his    guardians,    took 
refuge  in  the  Basilica  of  St.  Martin  of  Tours,  where  the  celebrated 
Bishop    Gregory   at   that   time    occupied    the    episcopal    see.      The 
right  of  asylum  in  churches  was,   in  this  utterly  barbarous  age,  the 
sole  safeguard  of  the  oppressed  against  the  violence  of   the  princes. 
Bishop  Gregory  maintained  this  dangerous  right  in  all  its  rigour,  and 
dared,  for  a  long  time,  to  defend  Merovic  against  his  father's  arms ; 
but  the  young  prince  at  length  grew  weary  of  his  voluntary  seclusion 
in  a  church,  and,  quitting  it,  with  an  escort  of  horsemen,  he  tried  to 
join  his  wife,  Queen  Brunhilda,  in  Austrasia.     But  the  latter,  during 
the  minority  of  the  youthful  Childebert,  her  son,  was  herself  living 
with  him  under  the  formidable  guardianship  of  the  Austrasian  leudes ; 
and   was   powerless   to   protect   her   husband   against   them.      They 
repulsed  Merovic,  and  the  fugitive  prince  was  constrained  to  continue 

58  EIVALEY   OF   FEEDEGONDE   AND   BEUNHILDA.      [Book  I.  Chap.  II. 

his  vagabond  route  through  Neustrian  Gaul,  pursued  by  the  implacable 
anger  of  his  father  and  Fredegonde.  At  length,  surrounded  on  all 
sides,  and  on  the  point  of  falling  into  their  hands,  he  committed 
suicide,  and  his  servants  perished  in  frightful  tortures.  Fredegonde 
was  not,  however,  sufficiently  avenged ;  and  her  fury  fell  even  upon 
the  prelate  who  had  dared  to  bestow  the  nuptial  blessing.  The 
Metropolitan  of  Rouen,  Pretextatus,  was,  in  her  eyes,  guilty  of  a 
crime,  and  she  had  him  assassinated  at  the  foot  of  the  altar.  Only 
one  child,  of  the  name  of  Clovis,  by  Chilperic's  first  marriage,  sur- 
vived Merovic.  Fredegonde  conspired  his  ruin.  She  accused  him  of 
witchcraft  and  casting  spells  on  her  own  children :  his  young  wife  was 
handed  over  to  the  hangman,  and  Clovis  was  stabbed  to  death  at  Noisy. 

Nothing  checked  the  Merovingian  princes  in  the  transports  of  their 
unregulated  passions  and  fury :  as  barbarians,  who  had  attained  the 
enjoyment  of  Roman  luxuries  and  civilization  before  they  had  put  off 
their  savage  instincts,  they  set  no  bounds  to  their  desires,  and  the  pre- 
mature end  of  their  race  could  be  foreseen.  One  day,  when  Chilperic 
was  residing  at  his  palace  of  Braine,  two  Gallic  bishops,  Salrius  of 
Alby,  and  Gregory  of  Tours,  were  walking  together  round  the  palace : 
suddenly  Salvius  stopped,  and  said  to  Gregory,  "  Dost  thou  see  any- 
thing over  this  building  ?  " 

The  Bishop  of  Tours  replied,  "  I  see  the  belvedere  which  the  King 
is  having  built." 

"  Dost  thou  not  perceive  something  else  ?  " 

"  No  !  but  if  thou  seest  aught,  tell  it  to  me  !  " 

Salvius  sighed,  and  continued,  "  I  see  the  sword  of  the  wrath  of 
God  suspended  over  the  house." 

Chilperic,  after  his  re- establishment  on  the  throne,  set  no  bounds  on 
his  ambition  and  cupidity.  He  invaded  the  states  of  his  brother 
Gontran  during  a  war  that  prince  was  waging  against  the  Lombards, 
and  was  supported  in  his  aggression  by  the  people  of  Aquitaine,  a 
portion  of  whom  were  the  subjects  of  Gontran.  An  army  of  Aquita- 
nians,  under  the  command  of  Didier,  Count  of  Toulouse,  marched 
upon  Burgundy;  but  Gontran  had,  as  leader  of  his  troops,  a  great 
captain,    the   Patrician*    Mummoles ;    who,    after   exterminating    the 

*  The  Patrician  was,  after  the  King,  the  first  dignitary  among  the  Burgundians. 


Lombards,  attacked  tlie  Aquitanians,  destroyed  their  army,  and  recap- 
tured all  the  places  which  Chilperic  had  seized.  Six  years  later,  a  new 
invasion  of  the  Neustrians  into  Burgundy  was  repulsed,  and  Chilperic 
perished  soon  after,  being  assassinated  in  the  forest  of  Chelles  by  the 
orders  of  Fredegonde.  Of  all  the  male  children  he  had  by  this  san- 
guinary woman,  only  one,  a  child  of  the  name. of  Olothair,  survived  him.. 
His  mother  undertook  the  guardianship  of  him,  and,  being  menaced 
simultaneously  by  all  the  enemies  whom  her  crimes  had  aroused  against 
her,  she  placed  herself,  with  her  son,  under  the  protection  of  King 
Gontran,  the  best — or,  speaking  more  correctly,  the  least  cruel — of  the 
sons  of  Olothair  I.,  and  who  was  surnamed  "the  Good,"  less  on 
account  of  his  merits,  than  from  a  comparison  with  the  other  princes, 
of  his  race. 

Brunhilda  was  at  this  period  disputing  the  guardianship  of  her 
young  son,  Childebert  II.,  with  the  nobles  of  Austrasia.  She^united 
to  a  vast  and  active  genius  indomitable  passions,  and  wished  at  once 
to  punish  Fredegonde,  her  rival,  and  retain  her  authority  over  the 
Austrasians,  who,  neighbours  of .  Germany,  the  cradle  of  their  ances- 
tors, were^the  most  undisciplined  nation  in  Gaul.  Brunhilda  was  fond 
of  Boman  civilization  :  she  desired  to  establish  in  her  son's  states  the 
centralization  of  the  monarchical  power,  and  the  system  of  the  Boman 
government  in  levying  the  public  imposts.  But  the  Austrasian 
nobles  endured  with  impatience  the  yoke  of  the  royal  authority ;  the 
Boman  system  of  taxation  was  especially  odious  to  them ;  and  they 
regarded  imposts  as  a  disgraceful  tribute  which  should  only  be  paid  by 
the  vanquished :  they,  therefore,  formed  a  league  against  Brunhilda, 
and  became  her  most  dangerous  enemies.  The  Frank  kings  had,  up  to 
this  time,  been  accustomed  to  set  one  of  their  leudes  over  the  officers- 
of  their  house,  as  steward  of  the  royal  domains :  this  officer,  who  had 
the  title  of  majordomo,  was  at  a  later  date  called  "mayor  of  the 
palace  of  the  kings,"  and  was  merely  their  first  domestic.  But,  after  the 
death  of  Sigebert,  the  Austrasian  nobles,  jealous  of  Brunhilda's 
authority,  elected  one  of  their  number  mayor  of  the  palace ;  and 
added  to  his  functions  that  of  presiding  over  them  and  watching 
the  youthful  King.  Brunhilda  tried  in  vain  to  oppose  the  haughty 
aristocracy,  who  claimed  a  share  in  the  guardianship  of  her  son :  she 

60  EPISODE   OF   GONDEVALD.  [Book  I.  Chap.  IL 

therefore  restrained  herself  till  Cliildebert  was  of  the  age  to  govern  by 
himself,  and  inspired  him  with  a  profound  dissimulation. 

It  was  not  alone  in  Austrasia  that  a  reaction  was  visible  against  the 
descendants  of  Merovic.  Royalty  was  no  longer  in  Gaul  what  it  had 
formerly  been  in  the  savage  forests  of  Germany.  xV  multitude  of  canses 
had  concurred  to  produce,  this  change:  the  conquest  of  vast  countries; 
the  possession  of  numerous  domains  and  large  treasures,  the  fruit  of 
immense  spoils ;  the  rarity  of  the  national  meetings,  owing  to  the 
dispersion  of  the  conquerors  over  the  land ;  and,  lastly,  the  traditions 
of  the  majesty  of  the  Roman  Empire  and  the  absolute  power  of  the 
Emperor, — all  this  fed  the  ambition  of  the  descendants  of  Clovis. 
They  believed  themselves  the  legitimate  successors  of  the  Ceesars, 
and  gradually  usurped  an  arbitrary  and  despotic  authority  over  their 
own  comrades  in  arms  and  the  Frank  aristocracy. 

The  aristocracy  resisted  ;  they  had  lost  their  strength  by  becoming 
dispersed,  and  re-acquired  it  by  becoming  landowners.  Hitherto 
floating,  they  had  become  fixed;  they  had  acquired  perpetuity  with 
property :  a  multitude  of  freemen  resorted  to  them  for  their  support 
against  the  exactions  of  the  treasury  and  royal  officers ;  and  this 
patronage  spread  in  spite  of  the  prohibitions  of  the  kings.  The 
Church  itself,  though  it  had  at  first  favoured  the  progress  of  the  royal 
authority,  grew  weary  of  a  despotism  which  no  longer  respected  its 
immunities  "and  privileges,  and  the  bishops  leagued,  themselves  with 
the  principal  leudes. 

A  formidable  conspiracy  was  entered  into  against  the  Kings  of: 
Austrasia  and  Burgundy.  The  aristocracy  desired  a  king  who  would 
be  a  passive  instrument  in  their  hands,  and  turned  their  attention  to  a 
natural  and  unrecognized  son  of  Clothair  I.,  of  the  name  of  Gonde- 
vald.  The  latter,  fearing  the  suspicious  jealousy  of  the  kings  his 
brothers,  had  sought  a  refuge  at  Constantinople,  at  the  court  of  the 
Emperor  Maurice.  No  other  man  was  better  adapted,  by  his  name 
and  character,  to  serve  the  projects  of  the  ambitious  nobles  of  Gaul. 
An  Austrasian  lord,  whom  his  treachery  has  rendered  shamefully  cele- 
brated, Gontran  Boson,  was  sent  by  the  leudes  of  Burgundy  and 
Austrasia  to  Gondevald,  to  seduce  him  by  the  lure  of  a  brilliant  share 
of  the  inheritance  of  Clothair  I.,  his  father.      He  at  the  same  time 

511-638]  EPISODE    OF    GONDEVALD.  Gl 

flattered  the  Emperor  Maurice  with  the  hope  of  recovering  a  portion  of 
his  imperial  rights  over  Gaul  by  favouring  the  enterprise  of  Gondevald  ; 
and   the  latter   quitted    Constantinople  with  immense  wealth  which 
he  received  as  a  present  from  the  Emperor.     But  the  treasures  which, 
in  his  idea,  were  destined  to  aid  his  success,  paved  the  way  for  his  ruin. 
They  tempted   the  cupidity   of   the  traitor  Boson,   who  stole  them, 
and,  returning  to  Austrasia,  purchased  his  pardon  of  King  Childebert. 
Gondevald,  however,  was  enthusiastically  received  in  the  south  of 
Gaul.       The   Aquitanians    and   Provencaux,    among    whom    Roman 
civilization    had    been    best    preserved,    impatiently    endured     the 
barbarous  yoke  of  the    Franks  ;    and,  attempting  to  liberate  them- 
selves  after   the    death   of    Chilperic,    the   insurrection    spread    the 
furthest  in  those  parts  of  Aquitaine  subjected  to  the  Kings  of  ISTeustria 
and  Burgundy.     The  most  powerful  men  in  those  countries  espoused 
the  cause  of  Gondevald  ;  and  he  had  at  the  head  of  his  armies  Didier, 
Duke    of    Toulouse,    Bladast,    Duke    of    Bordeaux,    and  the   famous 
Patrician  Mummoles,  who,  formerly  a  general  of  Gontran,  had  become 
his  enemy.     Gondevald  announced  himself  as  heir  of  Clothair  I.  in 
those  parts  of  Aquitaine  dependent  on  Neu stria  and  Burgundy ;  but 
he    respected  the  claims  of   Childebert  II.  in  Austrasian  Aquitaine. 
Bordeaux,  Toulouse,  and  other  large   towns,  opened  their   gates   to 
Gondevald,  and  the  larger  portion  of  Gaul  to  the  south  of  the  Loire 
was  gained  over  or  conquered.     Deputies  then  proceeded   to    King 
Gontran,  and  summoned  him  to  give  Gondevald  the  share  of  the  king- 
dom belonging  to  him ;  "  otherwise,"  they  said,  "  he  will  come  with 
his  army,  fight  with  you,  and  God  will  judge  whether  he  is  the  son 
of  Clothair  or  not."     Gontran,  in  answer,  had  them  tortured;   but, 
terrified  by  the   progress  of   the  revolution,    he  invited  his  nephew 
Childebert  II.  to  join  him  against  Gondevald,  and  drew  him  into  the 
alliance  by  adopting  him  as  his  heir. 

On  the  approach  of  the  formidable  armies  of  Burgundy  and 
Austrasia,  defections  commenced  in  Aquitaine,  Duke  Didier  setting 
the  example.  Gondevald,  abandoned  by  a  great  portion  of  the 
Aquitanians,  was  compelled  to  seek  a  refuge  in  the  town  of 
Comminges,  where  he  shut  himself  up  with  Mummoles,  and  a  band 
of  valiant  warriors.  This  town,  built  on  a  scarped  rock,  was  defended 
by  nature,  by  formidable  ramparts,  and    above  all  by  the  genius  of 

62  EPISODE   OF  GONDEVALD.  [Book  I.  Chap.  II. 

the  invincible  Mummoles.  The  besiegers  saw  that  they  conld  not 
subdue  the  victor  of  the  Lombards  by  force  of  arms,  and  after  use- 
lessly employing  force,  they  attempted  successfully  to  seduce  Mm. 
Mummoles  promised  to  deliver  up  Gondevald  ;  and,  proceeding  with 
the  principal  chiefs  to  the  prince,  said  to  him,  "  Leave  the  city,  go 
to  your  brother,  and  be  not  "afraid."  Gondevald  saw  that  he  was 
lost ;  and  replied,  with  a  torrent  of  tears,  "  I  came  to  Gaul  on  your 
entreaties.  I  came  with  immense  treasures  :  they  have  been  taken 
from  me  ;  and,  excepting  the  aid  of  Heaven,  I  placed  all  my  hopes 
in  you.    Let  God  be  the  judge  between  you  and  me  !  " 

Mummoles  and  the  chiefs  were  inflexible.  They  led  Gondevald  out 
of  the  town,  and  surrendered  him  to  Ollon,  Count  of  Bourges,  and 
to  Gontran  Boson,  who  had  despoiled  him  of  his  treasures.  "  Eternal 
Judge!"  exclaimed  the  unfortunate  prince,  "  Avenger  of  innocence ! 
avenge  me  on  those  who  have  surrendered  me,  an  innocent  man,  to 
my  enemies  !"  He  went  toward  the  army  of  the  besiegers,  arrayed 
on  the  plain.  "Here,"  said  Count  Ollon,  "is  the  man  who  calls 
himself  the  son  and  brother  of  kings  !"  and,  at  the  same  moment,  he 
ran  his  spear  through  him.  Endeavouring  to  rise,  he  was  hurled 
down  again,  and  killed  by  a  fragment  of  rock  thrown  by  Boson. 
Thus  perished  Gondevald,  after  a  harsh  experience  of  the  inconstancy 
of  men,  and  the  most  extreme  vicissitudes  of  fortune. 

This  treachery  was  of  no  advantage  to  the  traitors.  The  Austro- 
Burgundian  army  penetrated  into  the  town,  which  they  fired ;  and  in- 
habitants, priests,  and  soldiers  all  perished,  by  the  sword,  or  by  fire. 
Mummoles  was  not  spared  :  his  rebellion  had  effaced  his  services, 
and  Gontran  ordered  that  he  should  be  put  to  death.  This  powerful 
chief  perished  by  assassination,  in  the  midst  of  the  army  which  had 
gained  the  victory  solely  through  him ;  and  with  him  vanished  the 
great  conspiracy  which  had  made  the  King  of  Burgundy  tremble 
on  his  throne.  Shortly  afterwards,  at  an  assembly  held  at  Andelot, 
the  traitor  Gontran  Boson  was  condemned  by  the  two  Kings,  and  a 
price  set  on  his  head.  The  house  of  a  bishop,  in  which  the  proscribed 
man  had  taken  refuge,  was  burnt  like  the  lair  of  a  wild  beast.  Boson 
came  out  of  it,  sword  in  hand,  and  expired  on  the  threshold,  trans- 
fixed by  a  cloud  of  arrows :  when  dead,  he  stood  erect,  fixed  to  the 
wall.     Such  was  the  mode  in  which  royal  decrees  were  carried  out : 

511-638]  RIVALRY    OF    FREDEGONDE    AND    BRUNHILDA.  63 

acts  of  justice  were  not  distinguished  from  those  of  violence  ;  but  were 
as  barbarously  executed  as  the  crimes  they  were  intended  to  punish. 

The  two  princes,  uncle  and  nephew,  then  formed  a  new  compact 
in  the  solemn  assembly  of  Andelot.  The  common  interests  of  the 
kingdoms  of  Burgundy  and  Austrasia  were  regulated  there,  and  the 
survivor  of  the  two  Kings  was  recognized  as  the  heir  of  the  other. 
After  this,  King  Ohildebert,  encouraged  by  his  successes  in  Aquitaine, 
the  support  of  Grontran,  and  the  genius  of  his  mother,  Brunhilda, 
shook  off  the  yoke  of  his  leudes,  and  put  several  of  them  to  death. 
A  conspiracy  against  his  life  was  detected.  A  powerful  lord,  the 
ferocious  Rauking,  who  had  agreed  to  kill  him  with  his  own  hand,  was 
summoned  to  the  presence  of  Ohildebert,  and  found  him  surrounded  by 
his  guards  :  the  King  had  the  intended  assassin  killed  in  his  presence. 
On  another  occasion,  he  invited  his  court,  and  Magnovald,  the  most 
formidable  of  the  nobles,  to  witness  a  combat  of  animals,  and  while  the 
bull  was  expiring  in  the  arena,  a  warrior  cleft  the  head  of  Magnovald 
with  his  axe. 

While  the  youthful  Ohildebert  was  signalizing  his  reign  in 
Austrasia  by  bloodthirsty  acts,  old  King  Gontran  was  terminating 
his  in  Burgundy  by  reverses.  His  armies  were  defeated  in  Septimania, 
or  Languedoc,  by  the  Yisigoths,  and  fell  back  in  Novempopulania 
before  the  Vascons,  the  ferocious  mountaineers  of  the  Pyrenees.  The 
old  King  died  in  593,  and  Ohildebert,  his  nephew  and  adopted  son, 
succeeded  him.  By  his  succession  to  the  throne  of  G-ontran  the 
strength  of  Austrasia  was  doubled ;  and  Queen  Brunhilda,  thinking 
the  moment  favourable  to  avenge  herself  on  her  old  enemy,  the 
Austrasian  army  marched  against  Neustria,  where  the  youthful 
Clothair  II.  reigned,  under  the  direction  of  his  mother,  Fredegonde, 
and  Landeric,  mayor  of  the  palace.  Fredegonde  anticipated  her 
rival.  She  occupied  Soissons,  and  offered  battle  in  the  plains  of 
Truccia,  near  Chateau  Thierry.  Ohildebert' s  army  was  suddenly 
seized  with  a  panic  at  the  sight  of  a  moving  forest  apparently 
marching  against  them.  It  was  the  ISTeustrian  army,  the  soldiers 
of  which  carried  in  front  of  them  leafy  branches,  for  the  purpose  of 
concealing  their  numbers.  The  Austrasians  took  to  flight,  and  Ohilde- 
bert accepted  a  peace,  which  could  only  be  a  short  truce.  He  sur- 
vived his  defeat  only  a  few  years,  and  died,  after  undertaking  some 


DEATH    OF    FREDEGONDE.  [BOOK  I.  Chap.  II. 

other  wai*like  expeditions,  in  596,   leaving  two  sons  of  tender  age, 
Theodebert  and  Thierry. 

At  this  time  the  three  kingdoms  of  the  Franks  recognized  as 
Kings  three  boys.  Clothair  II.  reigned  in  ISTeustria,  Theodebert  II. 
in  Austrasia,  and  Thierry  II.  in  Burgundy — the  first  under  the 
guardianship  of  Fredegonde,  the  two  others  under  that  of  their 
grandmother  Brunhilda.  The  implacable  hatred  of  these  two 
queens  rekindled  hostilities ;  and  in  a  great  battle  fought  at  Latofao, 
near  Sens,  by  Fredegonde  and  Landeric,  against  the  sons  of  Childebert, 
the  Austrasians  and  Burgundians  took  to  flight.  Fredegonde  entered 
Paris  victoriously ;  reconstituted  the  old  kingdom  of  Neustria  in  its 
integrity  ;  and  died,  after  triumphing  over  all  her  enemies,  either  by 
the  sword  or  by  poison. 

The  enterprises  of  Brunhilda  were  much  more  difficult  than  those 
of  her  rival  had  been,  and  her  genius  constantly  encountered 
invincible  obstacles.  The  nobles  of  Austrasia,  for  a  time  subdued  by 
Childebert,  tried  to  render  themselves  independent  during  the 
childhood  of  his  son,  and  combined  once  again  against  the  despotism 
of  Brunhilda.  The  young  King  himself,  as  weary  as  they  were  of 
his  grandmother's  yoke,  was  their  secret  accomplice.  In  order  to 
save  her  life,  the  old  Queen  left  the  palace  of  Theodebert  and 
Austrasia  as  a  fugitive,  and  sought  an  asylum  in  Burgundy,  where 
she  was  received  with  great  honour  by  her  other  grandson,  King  Thierry, 
and  the  Burgundian  nobles.  It  is  said  that  she  had  recourse  to  crime, 
and  corrupted  the  morals  of  the  young  prince  in  order  to  subject 
him  the  better  to  her  will.  Irritated  against  Theodebert,  who  had 
seconded  or  permitted  the  violence  to  which  she  had  been  exposed 
in  Austrasia,  Brunhilda  deferred  taking  vengeance  on  him  till  she 
had  satiated  her  hatred  of  the  son  of  Fredegonde.  Excited  by  their 
grandmother,  the  two  brothers,  Theodebert  and  Thierry,  formed  an 
alliance  against  Clothair  II.,  and  the  united  Austrasian  and  Burgundian 
armies  came  up  with  the  Ueustrians  at  Dormeille,  in  the  country  of 
Sens.  Clothair  was  conquered,  and  the  carnage  was  awful.  The 
chroniclers  of  the  age  tell  us  that  the  exterminating  angel  was  seen 
waving  his  sword  of  fire  over  the  two  armies.  Two  years  later, 
Brunhilda,  at  the  head  of  the  Burgundians,  gained  another  victory 
over  the  Neustrians  at  Etampes.      Clothair  had  all  but   fallen   into 

511-638]  RIVALRY   OF    FREDEGONDE    AND    BRUNHILDA.  65 

her  hands,  when  she  learned  that  Theodebert,  King  of  Australia,  had 
treated  at  Compiegne  with  their  common  enemy,  whom  he  had  it  in 
his  power  to  crnsh.  This  peace  saved  the  son  of  Fredegonde,  but 
filled  with  rage  the  heart  of  Brunhilda,  who  from  this  moment  only 
thought  of  punishing  Theodebert.  She  armed  Thierry  against  his 
brother,  and,  after  a  sanguinary  war  that  lasted  several  years,  between 
the  Burgundians  and  Austrasians,  the  two  armies  met  on  the  already 
celebrated  plains  of  Tolbiac.  The  contest  was  horrible  :  the  com- 
batants, Fredegarius  tells  us,  were  so  crowded  that  the  dead  had  no 
room  to  fall,  but  stood  erect  one  against  the  other  as  if  still  living. 
Theodebert  was  conquered,  and  fled  ;  but  fell  into  the  hands  of  his 
brother,  who  put  his  young  son  to  death  before  his  eyes,  while  Theo- 
debert himself  was  murdered  by  the  orders  of  his  implacable  grand- 
mother.    Thierry  died  suddenly  in  the  following  year. 

The  priests  alone,  at  this  period,  raised  their  voices  to  brand  so 
many  crimes,  and  their  pious  courage  frequently  exposed  their  lives  to 
danger.  The  crimes  of  Fredegonde  drew  from  Pretextatus,  Bishop  of 
Rouen,  a  few  Christian  and  bold  remarks  ;  and  she  had  him  assassinated 
at  the  foot  of  the  altar.  Other  Grospel  teachers  reproached  Brunhilda, 
who  was  nearly  sixty  years  of  age,  for  her  shameful  debaucheries  ;  and 
one  of  them,  St.  Didier,  was  stoned  by  her  orders.  Another,  of  the 
name  of  Columbanus,  who  enjoyed  a  great  reputation  for  sanctity, 
refused,  in  the  presence  of  Brunhilda,  to  bless  the  King's  bastards. 
He  broke  the  festive  cup  offered  him,  and  poured  the  wine  on  the 
ground,  in  reprobation  of  the  royal  conduct.  He  was  exiled:  the 
people  flocked  round  to  bless  him,  and  his  progress  to  the  frontier  was 
a  triumph. 

Thierry  left  four  sons,  of  whom  Sigebert,  the  eldest,  was  scarce 
eleven  years  of  age.  Brunhilda  undertook  to  have  him  crowned  alone, 
and  to  maintain  the  unity  of  his  father's  states  by  evading  the  custom 
of  division.  This  attempt  excited  a  rebellion,  and  the  nobles  sum- 
moned to  their  aid  Clothair  II.,  King  of  Neustria.  Clothair  was  already 
on  the  Meuse,  and  marched  upon  the  Rhine.  Brunhilda  proceeded  to 
Worms  with  her  great-grandsons,  and  sought  support  from  the  Ger- 
mans. A  portion  of  the  Austrasian  leudes  had  already  passed  over  into 
Clothair' s  camp  :  the  others  flocked  round  their  King  in  order  to  betray 
him  more  easily.     The  most  distinguished  of  the  conspirators  were 


66  DEATH  OF  BRUNHILDA.  [Book  I.  Chap.  II. 

two  powerful  Austrasian  lords,  whose  children  became  by  intermarriage 
the  stem  of  the  second  royal  dynasty  of  France.  They  were  Arnolph, 
afterwards  canonized  as  Bishop  of  Metz,  and  Pepin  of  Landen  (a 
town  in  Hainanlt),  or  the  Old  One.  They  both,  under  the  authority 
of  the  celebrated  Warnacharius,  Mayor  of  the  Palace  in  Burgundy, 
aided  the  success  of  the  famous  plot  whose  object  was  the  overthrow 
of  Queen  Brunhilda  and  her  race. 

The  combined  Austrasian  and  Burgundian  armies  met  the  ISTeu- 
strians  on  the  banks  of  the  Aisne  in  Champagne.  The  conspirators 
then  declared  themselves.  Clothair  II.  was  hailed  as  king  by  all  the 
Franks,  and  three  of  Thierry's  sons  were  surrendered  to  him.  He  had 
the  young  King  Sigebert  murdered,  with  one  of  his  brothers  :  he 
exiled  another  to  ISTeustria,  but  the  fourth  escaped  him,  and  never 
reappeared.  Lastly,  the  haughty  Brunhilda  herself  fell  into  the 
hands  of  the  son  of  Fredegonde,  who  avenged  himself  as  his  mother 
would  have  done.  Brunhilda — daughter,  wife,  sister,  and  mother  of 
kings — was  abandoned  for  three  days  to  the  executioners-,  then  carried 
semi-naked  round  the  camp  on  a  camel,  and  exposed  to  the  outrages  of 
the  soldiery,  after  which  she  was  fastened  alive  to  the  tail  of  a  wild  horse, 
which  tore  her  into  fragments.  She  had  been  for  forty-eight  years  the 
terror  of  her  enemies,  and  eventually  succumbed  because  she  tried  to 
impose  on  a  semi-savage  nation  the  government  of  an  advanced  civili- 
zation. The  coarse  minds  of  the  Pranks  did  not  comprehend  the 
advantages  derived  from  the  unity  of  a  vast  empire  ;  and,  even  had 
they  done  so,  they  would  have  refused  to  sacrifice  their  individual 
ambition  and  fierce  independence  for  them.  Brunhilda  was  fond  of  the 
arts  :  she  repaired  several  Roman  rOads,  and  restored  many  fine  monu- 
ments. In  her  religious  zeal  she  lavished  immense  sums  on  the  clergy, 
and  built  a  prodigious  number  of  churches  and  monasteries.  All  that 
this  queen  did  received  from  her  a  gigantic  stamp.  Her  long  reign  was 
sullied  by  many  crimes,  but  it  did  not  pass  away  without  a  certain 
grandeur  and  some  amount  of  glory. 

After  the  death  of  Brunhilda,  Clothair  II.  united  under  his  sceptre 
the  entire  Prank  monarchy,  and  was  soon  able  to  discover  that  the 
unity  of  his  vast  empire  was  only  apparent.  The  nobles  of  Austrasia, 
in  overthrowing  Sigebert,  had  thought  much  less  about  raising  Clothair 
than  aggrandizing  themselves.    They  wanted  a  prince  to  reside  among 


them,  that  they  might  direct  him  as  they  thought  proper ;  and  they 
forced  the  King  to  share  his  throne  with  his  son  Dagobert,  and  give 
them  the  latter  as  their  sovereign.  Dagobert,  who  had  scarce  emerged 
from  infancy,  reigned  Tinder  the  gnardianship  of  Arnolph,  Bishop  of 

The  most  celebrated  event  in  the  reign  of  Clothair  II.  was  the 
council,  or  synod,  of  Paris  in  615.  In  the  midst  of  the  chaos  into  which 
the  Frank  conquest  had  plunged  Gaul,  everything  was  in  disorder  and 
gloom  except  the  Church,  which  had  alone  retained,  through  tradition, 
literary  associations  and  ideas  of  public  order  and  regular  government. 
The  bishops  were  generally  respected  and  feared  by  the  kings,  in  spite 
of  the  violence  to  which  several  of  them  were  exposed  ;  and,  in  various 
instances,  they  combined  with  the  lay  nobles  to  place  a  check  on  the 
foolish  and  barbarous  authority  of  the  Merovingian  princes.  They 
held,  during  the  sixth  century,  numerous  councils ;  and  in  the  one 
which  assembled  in  Paris  in  the  reign  of  Clothair  II.,  two  aristo- 
cracies came  together,  that  of  the  bishops  and  that  of  the  lords.  The 
famous  edict  which  this  assembly  promulgated  forms  an  epoch  in 
history ;  for  it  marked  the  success  of  the  reaction  of  the  nobles  against 
the  kings,  by  shaking  the  system  of  arbitrary  government  which  the 
latter  had  tried  to  found.  By  this  edict  canonical  elections  were 
established;  the  clerks  remained  independent  of  secular  justice;  the 
treasury  was  prohibited  from  seizing  successions  ab  intestato  and  raising 
the  taxation ;  and  the  judges  and  officers  of  the  king  were  rendered 
responsible.  The  edict  further  ordered  the  restitution  of  the  benefices 
taken  from  the  leudes,  protected  rich  widows,  nuns,  and  virgins,  from 
the  caprice  and  violence  of  the  princes ;  and  punished  any  infraction 
of  its  provisions  with  death.  One  of  the  chief  articles  settled  that 
the  judges,  or  counts,  should  be  always  selected  from  the  landowners 
of  the  parts  where  their  jurisdiction  would  be  exercised ;  and  from 
this  time,  the  dignity  of  count  belonged  nearly  always  to  the  richest 
proprietor  in  each  county,  and  the  royal  choice  had  narrow  limits. 
"We  know  but  little  more  about  the  reign  of  Clothair  II.'  Sanguinary 
wars  broke  out  between  him  and  his  son  Dagobert,  whose  independ- 
ence he  was  compelled  to  recognize ;  and  his  life  was  extinguished 
in  the  midst  of  civil  troubles.  He  died  in  628,  before  he  had  been 
able  to  secure  the  establishment  of  his  second  son,  Caribert. 

F  2 

68  [Book  I.  Chap.  III. 



The  sceptre  of  Dagobert  extended  over  the  three  great  kingdoms  of 
the  Frank  monarchy — ISTeustria,  Austrasia,  and  Burgundy  ;  from  which 
he  detached  Aquitaine,  that  is  to  say,  the  territory  between  the  Loire, 
the  Rhone,  and  the  Pyrenees,  and  gave  it  to  his  brother  Caribert.  The 
latter  soon  died,  and  his  eldest  son  was  assassinated,  it  is  said,  by  a 
faction  devoted  to  Dagobert,  who  resumed  possession  of  his  brother's 
states ;  but  left  Aquitaine,  under  the  title  of  duchy,  to  the  two  re- 
maining sons  of  Caribert,  Boggis  and  Bertrand,  reserving,  however,  all 
the  royal  rights  over  them.  The  unity  of  the  Frank  monarchy  was 
thus  once  again  restored. 

If  a  Merovingian  king  could  have  arrested  the  fall  of  his  dynasty, 
Dagobert  would  have  had  this  glory.  He  followed  in  the  track 
of  Queen  Brunhilda,  and  supported  himself  against  the  nobles 
by  appealing  to  the  Grallo-Roman  populations,  who  detested  their 
tyranny  :  he  made  terrible  examples  in  Austrasia  and  Burgundy,  and 
kept  the  factions  in  obedience  by  the  terror  he  inspired.  ~Not  one 
of  the  kings  descended  from  Clovis  caused  his  power  to  be  more 
respected,  or  displayed  greater  magnificence.  The  bishops,  leudes,  and 
foreign  ambassadors,  crowded  his  court ;  and  the  spoils  of  a  portion 
of  Europe,  gold,  silk,  precious  stones,  were  displayed  in  his  country 
palaces,  and  in  his  royal  residence  of  Clichy,  near  Paris.  The  splendour 
of  Dagobert  nearly  equalled  that  of  Eastern  potentates.  In  the  early 
part  of  his  reign,  he  did  not  allow  his  mind  to  be  weakened  by  the 
luxury  with  which  he  surrounded  himself,  and  devoted  his  time  to 
useful  occupations.  He  it  was  who  had  the  Salic  and  Ripuarian  laws 
revised  and  written,  as  well  as  those  of  his  Allemannic  and  Bavarian 
vassals.  In  the  end,  however,  he  gave  way  to  debauchery  and  cruelty ; 
he  forgot  the  claims  of  justice,  and  imposed  heavy  tributes  on  his 
people.  At  the  same  time,  his  arms  were  not  successful.  The  Wincli, 
or  Yenedes,  a  Sclavonic  nation,  having  been  liberated  from  the  yoke 
of  the  Avarians  by  the  Frank  Samo,  elected  him  as  their  king,  took 
possession  of  a  portion  of  Bohemia,  and  established  themselves  in  the 
valley  of  the  Danube,  which  was  at  this  period  the  great  commercial 
route  between  Northern  Gaul  and  Constantinople  and  Asia.     A  large 

511-638]  REIGN   OP   DAGOBERT   I.  69 

caravan  of  Franks  was  plundered  and  massacred  by  this  people. 
Dagobert  demanded  satisfaction ;  and,  being  unable  to  obtain  it,  sum- 
moned the  Franks  to  take  vengeance.  War  was  proclaimed  in  all  his 
states,  and  among  his  northern  and  western  vassals  ;  and  the  Germans 
and  Thuringians,  united  with  the  Franks  and  Lombards,  marched 
against  the  Windi.  These  armies  perished  in  the  desert  countries,  and 
the  power  of  the  Franks  was  shaken  through  the  whole  of  Germany. 

Dagobert,  from  this  time,  confined  his  attention  to  keeping  his  own 
subjects  in  obedience.  The  Austrasians,  ever  ready  to  revolt,  forced 
him  to  share  his  throne  with  his  son  Sigebert,  three  years  of  age,  and 
give  him  to  them  as  king.  Dagobert  confided  the  child  to  Duke 
Adalgesil ;  but  he  demanded,  and  obtained,  that  Pepin  of  Landen, 
and  other  Austrasian  lords,  should  remain  at  his  court  as  hostages. 
He  also  had  another  son,  of  the  name  of  Clovis,  designated  and 
recognized  as  King  of  Neustria  and  Burgundy.  The  bishops  and 
nobles  of  Austrasia,  constrained,  as  a  contemporary  historian  states, 
by  their  terror  of  Dagobert,  swore  to  sanction  the  dismemberment 
of  his  empire.  This  prince,  in  the  last  year  of  his  reign,  repulsed 
an  invasion  of  the  Yascons,  repressed  a  revolt  in  Aquitaine,  and  made 
a  treaty  with  the  Bretons,  who  recognized  his  supremacy. 

In  spite  of  the  reverses  of  his  arms  against  the  Windi,  and  numerous 
causes  of  internal  dissolution,  Dagobert  remained  to  the  end  of  his 
reign  powerful  and  feared.  He  combined,  like  many  of  the  princes  of 
his  race,  a  great  fervour  for  religion,  and  a  superstitious  devotion, 
with  licentious  tastes.  He  made  immense  gifts  to  the  clergy,  and 
covered  France  with  churches  and  monasteries.  He  gave  his  confidence 
to  the  referendary  Audouen,  and  the  jeweller  Eligius,  the  master  of  the 
royal  mint.  These  two  men,  better  known  by  the  names  of  St.  Ouen 
and  St.  Eloi,  were  both  canonized,  and  their  memory  has  become 
popular.  Dagobert  died  in  638.  He  had  displayed  great  generosity 
to  the  monastery  of  St.  Denis,  whose  basilica  he  covered  with  gold 
and  precious  stones,  and  where  he  was  buried  with  great  pomp.  This 
king,  despite  all  his  vices,  surpassed  in  merit  the  majority  of  the 
princes  of  his  family.  When  he  died,  a  century  and  a  half  had. 
elapsed  since  the  elevation  of  Clovis  to  the  throne  of  the  Franks,  and 
this  period,  marked  by  so  much  devastation  and  so  many  crimes,  was 
the  most  memorable  during  the  reign  of  the  Merovingians. 

70  SLOTHFUL  KINGS.  [Book  I.  Chap.  III. 







After  the  death  of  Dagobert  I.,  the  Merovingian  family  only  offers  us 
phantoms  of  kings,  brutalized  by  indolence  and  debauchery,  and  whom 
history  has  justly  branded  with  the  title  of  rois  faineants.  Through 
their  very  nullity  they  had  an  additional  title  to  the  throne  in  the 
sight  of  those  who  reigned  in  their  name.  By  the  side  of  royalty 
grew  up  the  magistrature  of  the  Mayors  of  the  Palace,  who,  during 
some  of  the  later  reigns,  had  already  several  times  substituted  their 
authority  for  that  of  the  monarch.  They  took  advantage  of  the  weak- 
ness of  the  Merovingians  to  usurp  de  facto  the  entire  power.  Elected 
by  the  leudes,  they  had  for  a  long  period  been  supported  by  them  in 
governing  the  sovereigns ;  but,  when  their  power  was  thoroughly 
established,  they  crushed  the  nobles,  in  order  that  there  might  be 
henceforth  no  other  authority  than  their  own.  They  then  transmitted 
their  office  to  their  sons,  and  it  was  eventually  regarded  as  the  appanage 
of  a  family,  in  the  same  way  as  the  sceptre  seemed  to  belong  by  right 
to  the  race  of  Clovis. 

Dagobert,  when  dying,  had  recognized  Ega  as  mayor  in  Neustria, 
and  Pepin  of  Landen  in  Austrasia;  and  had  confided  to  them  the 
guardianship  of  his  two  sons,  Sigebert  III.  and  Clovis  II.,  between 
whom  his  states  were  divided.  Ega  died,  and  Erkinoald  succeeded  to 
his  office.     The  childhood  and  character  of  the  two  kings  contributed 

638-652J  GOVERNMENT   OF   EBROUIN.  71 

to    a   great  extent  in  establishing  the  power  of  the  mayors  of  the 

Sigebert  III.,  who  was  entirely  devoted  to  religions  practices,  lived 
like  a  monk  in  his  Anstrasian  states,  and  restricted  the  exercise  of  his 
authority  to  the  care  of  enriching  the  churches  and  building  monas- 
teries :  he  died  in  the  flower  of  his  age.  Clovis  II.,  on  the  contrary, 
only  saw  in  the  royalty  of  Neustria  and  Burgundy  the  fatal  facility 
for  satisfying  his  shameful  taste  for  debauchery.  Still,  his  nominal 
authority  extended  over  the  entire  monarchy  of  the  Franks,  and 
Austrasia  also  recognized  him  as  king.  The  mayor  had  been  succeeded 
by  his  son  Grimoald.  The  latter,  on  the  death  of  Sigebert  III.,  had 
tried  to  get  the  sceptre  into  his  family.  He  had  the  youthful  Dago- 
bert,  son  of  Sigebert,  conveyed  to  Ireland,  concealed  the  place  of  his 
retreat,  and  dared  to  place  the  crown  on  the  head  of  his  own  son.;  but 
the  Austrasian  nobles  revolted  against  an  authority  which  was  inde- 
pendent of  their  choice.  They  put  Grimoald  and  his  son  to  death, 
and  recognized  as  their  master  the  weak  Clovis  II.,  King  of  Neustria, 
who  very  shortly  after  followed  his  brother  Sigebert  III.  to  the  grave, 
and  left  his  sceptre  and  empty  royal  title  to  Clothair  III.,  his  elder  son. 

The  famous  Ebrouin,  gifted  with  great  talents,  and  of  an  inflexible 
character,  was  at  that  time  mayor  of  the  palace.  Still,  he  did  not 
succeed  in  long  maintaining  the  apparent  unity  of  the  monarchy. 
The  Austrasian  lords  required  a  king  who,  like  his  predecessors, 
should  be  subject  to  their  influence.  They  summoned  the  youthful 
Childeric,  second  son  of  Clovis  II.,  greeted  him  as  King  of  Austrasia, 
and  gave  him  for  guardian  the  Mayor  Wulfoald. 

The  nobles  had  been  unable  to  establish  a  regular  aristocratic 
government  in  any  one  of  the  three  kingdoms  forming  the  monarchy  : 
their  power  had  only  tended  to  render  them  more  and  more  inde- 
pendent. Ebrouin  saw  in  the  progress  of  their  individual  authority 
a  step  toward  general  anarchy.  He  was  jealous  of  the  excess  of 
their  power;  and,  either  through  policy  or  personal  ambition,  he 
wished  to  remain  sole  master  in  Neustria  and  Burgundy.  His  des- 
potism caused  all  the  nobles  to  revolt.  The  celebrated  Bishop  of 
Autun,  Leger,  of  whom  the  Church  has  made  a  saint,  placed  himself 
at  the  head  of  the  insurgents  in  Burgundy,  and  gave  the  example  of 
an  obstinate  resistance.     Ebrouin  at  first  subdued  the  rebellion,  but 


tlie  death,  of  Clothair  III.  shook  Lis  power.  He  did  not  dare  convene 
the  nobles,  according  to  custom,  in  a  national  mall,  in  order  to  elect 
a  successor  to  this  prince,  who  died  childless ;  and  he  proclaimed  as 
king",  of  his  own  authority,  the  youthful  Thierry,  third  son  of  Cloyis  II. 
This  violation  of  the  old  customs  of  the  kingdom  armed  the  nobles 
against  Ebrouin.  The  lords  of  Neustria  and  Burgundy  were  no  more 
willing  than  those  of  Austrasia  to  see  the  mayors  usurp  the  right  of 
election  to  the  throne,  and  they  offered  the  crown  of  the  two  king- 
doms to  Ohilderic  II.,  King  of  Austrasia. 

Ebrouin,  abandoned  by  all,  took  refuge  in  a  church.  His  life  was 
spared :  he  was  forced  to  take  the  tonsure,  and  was  imprisoned  in 
the  monastery  of  Luxeuil.  Thierry  III.  was  led  as  a  prisoner  into  his 
brother's  presence,  and  confined -by  his  orders  at  St.  Denis. 

Childeric  II.  removed  his  residence  from  Metz  to  Paris.  This  prince 
combined  with  the  brutal  passions  of  his  degenerate  race,  the  energetic 
character  of  his  ancestors.  Constrained,  at  first,  to  subscribe  the  con- 
ditions imposed  on  him  by  the  nobles  who  had  crowned  him,  he  no 
longer  observed  them  when  he  felt  his  strength.  He  combated  the 
leudes  with  severity,  and  shut  up  Bishop  Leger  in  the  same  monastery 
of  Luxeuil,  into  which  the  latter  had  thrown  Ebrouin.  Misfortune 
reconciled  for  a  time  these  two  great  enemies.  They  formed  a  conspiracy 
against  the  rash  Childeric,  who  had  dared  to  inflict  on  one  of  his 
leudes,  of  the  name  of  Bodolus,  a  dishonourable  punishment  reserved 
for  slaves.  Bodolus  and  the  conspirators  surprised  the  King,  while 
hunting  in  the  forest  of  Bondy,  near  the  royal  mansion  of  Chelles. 
Their  vengeance  was  atrocious,  for  they  murdered  him,  with  his  wife 
and  children.  Ebrouin  and  Bishop  Leger  came  out  of  captivity 
together,  and  became  once  more  deadly  foes.  Ebrouin  eventually 
gained  the  victory  over  his  formidable  rival,  whom  he  deprived  of 
sight,  and  then  had  him  tried  by  an  episcopal  synod,  and  condemned 
to  death.  Taking  from  prison  the  weak  Thierry,  a  useful  and  blind 
instrument  of  his  despotic  will,  he  obtained  the  support  of  the  masses 
against  the  nobles,  and  exercised  for  a  long  time  an  uncontrolled 
power.  He  set  everything  to  work  to  break  up  the  hereditary  aris- 
tocracy. He  brought  the  benefices  into  circulation  again ;  he  tore  the 
estates  of  the  treasury  from  the  powerful  families  that  had  long 
regarded  them  as  their  patrimony  :  he  divided  them  among  new  men, 

638-652]  DEATH    OF    EBROUIN.  73 

thus  interesting  a  numerous  class  of  poor  tenants  in  the  defence  of  his 

Still,  a  formidable  cloud  collected  against  Ebrouin  in  Austrasia. 
After  the  death  of  Childeric  II.,  this  country  was  again  separated 
from  the  kingdoms  of  JSeustria and  Burgundy.  Y oung  Dagobert,  son 
of  Sigebert  III.,  was  recalled  from  the  monastery  where  he  lived 
concealed,  in  Ireland.  This  young  prince,  who  was  greedy  and  cruel, 
wished  to  make  victims  of  the  authors  of  his  fortunes,  and  his 
rashness  was  only  paralleled  by  his  violence.  Imitating  the  last  King, 
Childeric,  he  met  with  a  similar  fate,  and  was  assassinated  by  the 
nobles  of  Austrasia,  without  leaving  an  heir. 

Among  his  murderers  were   several  partizans  and  relatives  of  the 
old  mayor,  Pepin  of  Landen,  whose  male  posterity  had  become  ex- 
tinct with  Grimoald  and  his  son,  but  whose  family  for   a  long  time 
retained    great    influence.       A    daughter    of    Pepin,     of     the   name 
of   Legga,   had  married  the  son    of  the   great  Arnolph,    Bishop    of 
Metz.    She  had  a  son  by  him,  who  received  the  name  of  his  maternal 
grandfather,  and  whom  historians,  in  order  to  distinguish  him  from 
Pepin   the  Old,   have  surnamed  Pepin    of  Heristal,    from    the  name 
of  a  celebrated  estate   on  which  he  lived  on  the  banks  of  the  Meuse. 
This  young  man,  during  the  interregnum  which  followed  the  death  of 
Dagobert,  was  recognized  as  one  of  the  chiefs   of  the  aristocracy  of 
the   dukes  and  counts  of  Austrasia.      The  nobles    triumphed  in  this 
country,  and  were  crushed  in  Neustria  and  Burgundy.     A  multitude 
of   exiles    from    these   two    kingdoms    demanded   vengeance    of  the 
Dukes  of  Austrasia  upon  Ebrouin,  and  a  fresh  and  terrible  collision 
took  place  on  the  plain    of   Latafao,   which  had  already   been  fatal 
to  the  Austrasians.     Neustria   was   once   more  victorious.     Ebrouin 
triumphed  :  but  he  was  unable  to  cull  the  fruits  of  his  victory.      A 
lord,  of  the  name  of  Ermanfroi,  who  had  been  proved  culpable  in  his 
office,  and  threatened  with  death,  anticipated  Ebrouin,  by  cleaving  his 
skull  with  his  axe,  and  fled  to  Austrasia,  where  Pepin  of  Heristal 
overwhelmed  him  with  honours.     The  historians   of  the, age,  mostly 
deadly  enemies  of  Ebrouin,  display  him  to  us  as  very  pitiless  and  per- 
fidious ;  but  his  memory  was  honoured  in  some  popular  legends.  "  He 
violently  repressed,"  Ave  are  told  in  them,  "  all  the  iniquities  that  were 
committed  on.  the  face  of  the  earth.     He   chastised  the  misdeeds  of 


proud  and  unjust  men,  and  caused  peace  to  reign :  he  was  a  man  of  a 
great  heart,  although  he  was  too  cruel  to  the  bishops."  *  Ebrouin, 
though  he  had  no  sceptre  or  crown,  had  reigned  for  twenty  years  with 
a  power  that  no  king  had  exercised  before  him. 




The  feeble  Thierry  was  still  reigning  in  ISTeustria,  when  Waratho,  and 
after  him  Berthair,  succeeded  Ebrouin  in  his  office.  The  reins  of 
government,  on  slipping  from  his  powerful  grasp,  were  relaxed  in  their 
feeble  hands.  Civil  discord  agitated  Neustria  :  hope  was  rearoused  in 
the  banished  lords.  They  renewed  their  applications  to  Pepin  of 
Heristal,  and  the  other  dukes  of  Austrasia,  and  another  revolution  was 
resolved  on.  Pepin  announced  himself  as  the  avenger  of  the  Frank 
nobles  and  priests  despoiled  by  the  mayors  of  Neustria,  and  was  pro- 
claimed commander-in-chief.  He  encountered  the  Neustrian  army  at 
Testry,  in  the  county  of  Vermandois,  gained  a  great  victory,  and  made 
King  Thierry  a  prisoner.  Having  then  assured  himself  that  no  one  was 
more  fitted  than  this  weak  prince  to  play  the  part  of  a  puppet  king,  he 
recognized  him  as  monarch  of  Neustria  and  Austrasia,  and  governed  in 
his  name  as  mayor  of  the  palace,  after  destroying  the  rulers  of  the 
party  opposed  to  the  nobles.  After  the  death  of  Thierry,  Pepin  crowned 
in  succession  his  two  sons,  Clovis  III.  and  Childebert  III.,  and  then 
his  grandson,  Dagobert  III. ;  but  he  was  the  real  military  chief,  and 
sole  grand  judge  of  the  nation  of  the  Franks.  He  restored  the  old 
national  customs,  which  had  been  unregarded  by  Ebrouin. 

The  great  medium  or  annual  assembly,  which  had  fallen  into  desue- 
tude, was  regularly  held  on  the  calends  of  March,  and  all  the  members 
of  the  nobility  were  convened  to  it.  The  King  proceeded  thither 
in  a  chariot  drawn  by  oxen,  wearing  the  royal  insignia,  and  with  his 
long  hair  floating  down  his  back.  He  seated  himself  in  the  midst  of 
the  assembly,  on  a  golden  throne,  where  the  monarch  in  effigy  granted 
an  audience  to  the  foreign  ambassadors,  and  gave  them  the  answers 
which  had  been  dictated  to  him.     He  uttered  a  few  remarks  touching 

*  Legends  of  St.  Projectus  of  Auvergne,  and  St.  Martial  of  Limoges._ 

638-652]  MAYORALTY   OF   PEPIN   OF   HERISTAL.  75 

peace,  war,  and  the  duties  of  government  towards  churches  and  orphans  ; 
and  then,  returning  as  he  had  come,  was  sent  by  Pepin  to  one  of  the 
large  royal  farms,  where  he  was  guarded  with  honour  and  respect. 

This  grand  scene  took  place  annually  :  it  testifies  to  the  prestige  which 
the  memory  of  Clovis  still  exercised  over  the  Franks,  and  to  what 
an  extent  popular  respect  attached  to  the  blood  of  Merovic.  This 
superstitious  worship  of  a  degenerate  race  is  a  thing  difficult  to  under- 
stand in  our  days  ;  and  we  do  not  know  which  to  feel  more  surprised 
at — the  boldness  of  the  mayors  who,  in  the  presence  of  a  people  to 
whom  the  name  of  Merovingian  was  sacred,  thus  humiliated  the  last 
representatives  of  this  family  ;  or  the  cowardly  imbecility  of  the  latter, 
who  were  all  recognized  as  kings,  though  not  one  of  them  took  advan- 
tage of  these  solemn  occasions  to  be  so  in  reality. 

The  empire  of  the  Franks  began  to  be  broken  up  after  the  battle  of 
Testry.  The  princes  of  the  Saxons,  Frisons,  Allemans,  Bavarians,  and 
Thuringians,  hitherto  vassals  of  the  Merovingian  kings,  considered 
themselves  the  equals  of  Pepin  when  they  had  contributed  to  his 
victory.  Pepin  contended  against  them,  and,  almost  to  his  death,  had 
to  sustain  long  and  sanguinary  wars  on  all  the  northern  frontiers,  while 
the  peoples  of  Burgundy  and  Provence  shook  off  his  yoke  in  the 
south.  Those  of  Aquitaine  rallied  under  the  celebrated  Eudes,  Duke 
of  Toulouse,  and  descendant  of  the  Merovingian  Caribert,  brother 
of  Dagobert  I.,  to  whom  they  gave  the  title  of  king,  and  rendered 
themselves  almost  independent  of  the  Frank  monarchy. 

Pepin  had  two  sons,  Drogon  and  Grimoald,  by  his  wife  Plectrude, 
and  a  third,  of  the  name  of  Charles,  by  his  concubine,  Alpaide.  He 
gave  the  duchy  of  Champagne  to  his  eldest  son,  who  died  in  708,  and 
during  his  own  lifetime  invested  his  second  son,  Grimoald,  in  the 
office  of  mayor  of  Neustria.  An  implacable  hatred  subsisted  between 
the  mothers  of  Charles  and  Grimoald,  who  became  deadly  foes.  Pepin 
grew  old ;  he  fell  sick,  and  was  all  but  dead,  when  his  son  Grimoald 
was  murdered  almost  in  his  presence.  He  collected  all  his  strength  to 
avenge  him  ;  he  sprang  from  his  death-bed,  destroyed  all  the  authors 
of  the  murder,  and  shut  up  his  son  Charles,  whom  he  suspected  of 
being  an  accomplice,  in  Bologna :  then  he  established  Grimoald's  son 
Theobald,  who  was  hardly  five  years  of  age,  as  mayor  of  the  palace. 
This  energetic  act  exhausted  his  strength.     "  He  died  in  714,"    the 

76  THE    LAST    SLOTHFUL    KINGS.  [SoOK  I.  Chap.  Ill- 

annals  of  the  Franks  tell  us,  "after  commanding  for  twenty-seven 
years  and  six  months  the  whole  Frank  people,  with  the  kings  subject  to 
him — Thierry,  Clovis,  Childebert,  and  Dagobert." 





Pepin  left  at  the  head  of  the  monarchy  two  boys — one  king,  the  other 
mayor — under  the  guardianship  of  the  aged  Plectrude,  the  grand- 
mother of  Theodebald.  The  Neustrians  grew  indignant  at  such  a  yoke. 
They  revolted  against  Plectrude  and  her  son,  and  chose  Raginfred  as 
mayor  of  the  palace  :  then,  allying  themselves  with  the  Frisons  and 
Saxons,  they  attacked  and  disarmed  Austrasia.  Pressed  on  all  sides, 
the  Austrasians  in  their  turn  deserted  Plectrude  and  her  son.  They 
took  out  of  a  monastery  the  youthful  Charles,  the  natural  son  of 
Pepin,  who  was  endowed  with  heroic  qualities,  and  enthusiastically 
recognized  him  as  king.  Still,  the  name  of  the  Merovingians  pos- 
sessed a  certain  prestige ;  and  on  the  death  of  Dagobert  III.  both 
factions  elected  a  pretended  member  of  this  degenerate  race  as  king, 
Chilperic  II.  in  Neustria,  and  Clothair  IV.  in  Austrasia.  They  nomi- 
nally reigned,  while  the  two  real  masters  of  these  states,  Raginfred 
and  Charles,  prepared  for  war,  and  marched  against  each  other.  The' 
victory  could  not  be  long  undecided.  The  Franks  of  Austrasia,  which 
country  bordered  Germany,  had  lost  none  of  their  warlike  energy. 
The  advantages  they  derived  from  the  conquest  were  a  powerful 
lure  for  the  Grerman  tribes  in  their  vicinity,  and  successive  immigra- 
tions naturally  kept  up  in  the  Austrasian  nation  a  more  energetic 
military  spirit,  and  more  warlike  habits,  than  in  Neustria.  Charles,  at 
first  defeated,  took  refuge  in  the  Ardennes,  and,  assembling  veteran 
bands,  placed  himself  at  their  head :  he  surprised  the  Neustrians, 
committed  great  carnage  among  them,  pursued  them,  and  by  the 
memorable  victory  of  Vincy,  near  Cambray,  gained  in  717,  the  whole 
of  ISTeustria  became  his  conquest.  The  Neustrians,  vanquished  but 
not  subjugated,  summoned  to  their  aid  Eudes,  King  of  Aquitaine, 
and  offered  him  the  sceptre.     The  Aquitanians  regarded  the  Franks 

638-652]  INVASION    OF    THE    MUSSULMANS.  77 

of  the  Rhine  as  far  more  barbarous  than  those  of  the  Seine.  They  had 
cause  to  fear  lest  the  ferocious  bands  of  Charles  might  wish,  like  those  of 
Clovis  in  former  times,  to  taste  the  fruits  of  the  south.  They  con- 
sequently united  with  the  Neustrians,  and  marched  against  Charles, 
who  defeated  them  near  Soissons,  and  pursued  them  up  to  Orleans. 
Clothair  IV.,  the  puppet  King  of  Austrasia,  had  just  died.  Charles, 
the  victor  over  the  Neustrians  and  Aquitanians,  had  Chilperic  II.,  the 
imbecile  King  of  Neustria,  recognized  as  sovereign  of  the  whole 
empire  of  Clovis  ;  and  on  his  death,  which  took  place  two  years  later, 
he  gave  him  Thierry  IV.  for  a  successor,  and  reigned  alone  in  his 

The  Austrasians,  or  Ripuarian  Franks,  triumphed  after  obstinate 
wars,  and  the  battles  of  Yincy  and  Soissons  were  the  last  efforts  of 
the  Neustrians.  The  seat  of  the  Frank  Empire  was  eventually  trans- 
ported to  the  Meuse  and  the  Rhine ;  and  this  was  necessary  in  order 
to  arrest  aud  draw  back  the  devastating  tide  of  new  Germanic  emi- 

A  more  terrible  foe  menaced  the  empire  of  the  Franks.  Only  a 
century  previously,  Mohammed  had  founded  a  new  religion  in  Arabia  • 
and  already  his  armies,  electrified  by  religious  fanaticism  and  a  spirit 
of  conquest,  had  invaded  Asia,  Africa,  and  Spain,  and  were  advancing 
into  Gaul.  Never,  since  the  days  of  Attila,  had  a  more  formidable 
invasion  menaced  Europe.  The  torrent  crossed  the  Pyrenees,  and 
first  dashed  down  upon  Septimania.  Narbonne  succumbed,  and  the 
fall  of  that  city  decided  the  fate  of  the  country,  where  the  Arab 
rule  was  substituted,  as  in  Spain,  for  that  of  the  Visigoths. 

The  Mussulmans  next  menaced  Aquitaine,  and  the  other  possessions 
of  King  Eudes.  This  prince,  whom  Charles  had  conquered  at  Sois- 
sons, held  beneath  his  sway  in  Southern  France  several  countries 
which,  up  to  this  time,  had  not  formed  part  of  the  duchy  of  Aqui- 
taine, and  among  others  the  country  of  the  Waskes,  or  Basques,  better 
known  by  the  name  of  Gascons.  This  valiant  race,  who  dwelt  in 
Upper  Navarre,  and  were  descended  from  the  ancient  Iberi,  had 
occupied  for  two  centuries  the  two  watersheds  of  the  Pyrenees,  where 
for  a  long  period,  they  defended  their  independence  against  the 
Visigoths  and  Franks.  Toward  the  middle  of  the  sixth  century,  they 
made  an  irruption  into  Gaul,  and  settled  in  a  portion  of  Novempopu- 


lama.,  which,  received  from  them  the  name  of  Gascony.  At  the  close 
of  the  following  century,  King  Eudes,  either  by  victories  or  treaties, 
annexed  it  to  Aquitaine,  and  the  two  peoples  formed  but  one  at  the 
time  when  Eudes,  attacked  by  the  Saracens,  gained  a  great  victory 
over  them  on  the  plains  of  Toulouse.  He  defeated  them  a  second 
time,  but,  being  beset  by  new  legions  of  enemies,  he  purchased  a 
peace  of  one  of  their  generals  of  the  name  of  Munuza,*  by  giving 
him  in  marriage  his  daughter  Lampagia.  Munuza  went  away,  and 
soon  after  perished  in  a  civil  war  against  Abd-ul  Brahman,  Yali,  or 
chief,  of  the  Mussulmans  in  Spain :  his  wife,  daughter  of  King* 
Eucles,  fell  into  the  power  of  the  victor,  who,  in  his  turn,  invaded 

Eudes  was  still  carrying  on  the  war  in  the  north  of  his  states, 
against  the  invincible  Charles,  chief  of  the  Franks,  when  he  was 
menaced  in  the  south  by  the  enemies  of  all  the  Christians :  he  saw 
his  army  destroyed  by  the  Mussulmans  before  Bordeaux,  that  city 
burnt,  Aquitaine  pillaged,  and  its  inhabitants  massacred.  Feeling  that 
he  was  too  weak  to  contend  against  all  these  foes,  and  constrained  to 
submit  either  to  the  Franks  or  Arabs,  his  religion  dictated  his  choice. 
He  proceeded  as  a  fugitive  to  the  martial  court  of  Charles,  recognized 
him  as  his  suzerain,  and  obtained  at  this  price  the  help  of  the  Franks. 
Charles  made  a  warlike  appeal  to  all  the  warriors  of  Neustria, 
Austrasia,  and  Western  Germany;  and  the  formidable  army  thus 
raised  encountered  that  of  Abd-ul  Rahman,  in  October,  732,  on  the 
plains  of  Poitiers.  The  destinies  of  the  human  race  were  about  to  be 
staked  on  this  famous  field :  the  army  of  the  Franks  was  the  sole 
barrier  capable  of  arresting  the  Mohammedan  invasion,  and  it  was 
soon  to  be  known  whether  the  world  would  become  Mussulman  or 

For  seven  days  the  two  armies  observed  each  other  without  fighting. 
At  last,  the  Mussulmans,  whose  number  the  chroniclers  estimate 
at  several  hundred  thousand,  deployed  on  the  plain  ;  and,  on  a  signal 
from  Abd-ul  Rahman,  his  light  cavalry  commenced  the  action  with 
a  cloud  of  arrows,  and  dashed  like  a  whirlwind  on  the  army  of 
the  Franks.      The  latter,  motionless   on  their  powerful  horses,   and 

*  The  Arabic  name  of  this  famous  chief  was  Ebn  Abinruca ;  according  to  others, 
Abi  Nessa. 

638-652]  INVASION    OF    THE    MUSSULMANS.  79 

defended  by  their  heavy  armour,  for  a  long  time  opposed  a  wall  of 
iron  to  the  repeated  charges  of  the  Saracens,  and  remained  firm  in 
close  and  serried  masses.  All  at  once,  the  battle-cry  was  raised  in  the 
rear  of  the  Arab  army;  it  was  the  cry  of  King  Eudes  and  the 
Aquitanians,  who  had  turned  the  enemy's  flank,  and  had  fired  his 
camp.  A  portion  of  the  immense  army  of  Abd-ul  Rahman  faced  the 
Aquitanians,  and  disorder,  the  effect  of  surprise,  opened  the  ranks  of  the 
Arabs.  Charles,  in  his  turn,  gave  the  signal :  the  wall  of  iron  broke, 
the  heavy  masses  of  Germans  fell  on  Abd-ul  Rahman's  squadrons, 
and  the  war- axe  and  broad- swords  of  the  Franks  cropped  down  entire 
ranks.  Abd-ul  Rahman,  vainly  endeavouring  to  rally  his  soldiers,  fell, 
in  the  midst  of  his  picked  troops,  pierced  with  lances,  and  crushed 
beneath  the  horses'  hoofs.  The  Arabs  sought  a  refuge  in  their  ravaged 
camp.  Night  having  set  in,  Charles  arrested  the  pursuit ;  and  on  the 
morrow,  at  daybreak,  the  Franks  saw,  in  the  distance,  only  a  blood- 
stained plain  covered  with  corpses :  darkness  had  protected  the  retreat 
of  the  Mussulmans,  and  the  Christian  cause  was  gained. 

The  Arabs  evacuated  Aquitaine  after  their  disastrous  defeat  at 
Poitiers ;  and  this  day,  for  ever  memorable,  on  which  it  was  said  that 
Charles  had  hammered  the  Saracens,  gained  him  the  glorious  surname 
of  Martel,  which  posterity  has  retained. 

One  of  the  results  of  this  famous  campaign  was  to  restore  the 
great  province,  or  kingdom,  of  Aquitaine  and  Grascony  to  the  mon- 
archy of  the  Franks  by  the  oath  of  vassalage  which  King  Eudes 
had  made  to  his  liberator.*  But  in  delivering  the  southern  provinces 
from  Mohammedanism,  Charles  neither  saved  them  from  pillage,  nor 
arson,  nor  massacre :  devastation  marked  the  passage  of  his  army,  and 
sullied  his  victory,  for  which  the  Aquitanians  did  not  feel  grateful  to 
him;  and  a  profound  enmity  subsisted  between  the  more  civilized 
nations  of  the  south  and  the  northern  barbarians.  Charles  Martel 
turned  his  arms  against  several  tribes  of  Ganl  that  had  ceased  to  obey 
the  unworthy  successors  of  Clovis..  He  subjugated  the  Burgundians, 
penetrated  into  Septimania,  and,  bj  the  capture  of  two  famous  cities, 

*  Several  chronicles,  among  others  the  Annahs  du  Metz,  say  that  Charles  returned 
home  after  subjugating  Aquitaine,  that  is  to  say,  that  Eudes  fulfilled  the  engagements 
imposed  on  him  by  his  oath,  and  doubtless  renounced  the  title  of  king,  the  sign  of  his 
past  independence,  and  only  bore  that  of  Duke  of  the  Aquitanians.  See  Hist,  de  France^ 
by  Henrr  Martin,  years  732,  733. 

80  GOVERNMENT   OF   CHARLES   MABTEL,         [Book  I.  Chap.  III. 

Aries  and  Marseilles,  completed  the  subjugation  of  Provence  to  the 
monarchy  of  the  Franks. 

Under  his  government  the  perpetual  progress  of  the  clergy  in  power 
and  wealth  was  arrested,  or,  more  correctly  speaking,  suspended,  in  Gaul. 
The  army  constituted  the  sole  strength  of  Charles  ;  and,  in  order  to 
attach  it  better  to  him,  he  ventured  to  seize  the  estates  of  the  Church, 
and  distribute  them  among  his  warriors.  He  did  not  assume  the 
name  of  king,  but  he  appointed  no  successor  to  Thierry  IV.,  son  of 
Dagobert  III.,  whom  he  had  crowned  upon  the  death  of  Chilperic  II. 
His  most  dangerous  enemies  were  the  Frisons,  Allemans,  and  Saxons, 
who  were  constantly  attracted  to  the  Rhine  by  the  success  of  the 
previous  invasions.  Charles  succeeded  in  driving  them  back  by 
sanguinary  and  repeated  expeditions,  and  restraining  them  by  the 
terror  of  his  name.  Death  surprised  him  in  741,  when  he  was  under- 
taking an  expedition  into  Italy,  to  succour  the  Pope  against  the 
Lombards  ;  but,  before  expiring,  he  divided  his  authority  between  his 
three  sons,  Pepin,  Carloman,  and  Griffo. 

Pepin  and  Carloman  dispossessed  their  brother,  and  divided  the 
paternal  heritage  between  them;  but  they  soon  saw  that  Charles 
Martel  had  not  handed  down  to  them  with  his  power  the  prestige 
attaching  to  his  formidable  name ;  and,  in  order  to  support  their 
authority,  they  drew  from  the  monastery  the  last  of  the  Merovingians, 
who  was  proclaimed  King  of  the  Franks,  by  the  name  of  Childeric  III. 
The  two  brothers  then  contended  successfully  against  the  Allemans, 
the  Bavarians,  the  Saxons,  and  Aquitanians.  Carloman  soon  felt  a 
disgust  of  terrestrial  grandeur  ;  he  became  a  monk,  and  entered  the 
monastery  of  Mont  Cassin.  Pepin,  under  the  title  of  Mayor  of  the 
Palace,  remained  sole  master  of  the  Frank  monarchy.  He  maintained 
at  this  period  intimate  relations  with  the  Holy  See,  and  gained  its 
gratitude  by  offering  to  defend  it  against  the  Lombards,  and  favouring 
with  all  his  power  the  success  of  the  missions  sent  by  the  Pope  into 
Saxony  and  Frisia,  to  convert  these  still  pagan  and  savage  countries 
to  Christianity.  At  length  he  grew  weary  of  reigning  without  sceptre 
and  crown  on  the  steps  of  the  throne ;  and,  having  asked  the  Pope 
for  the  title  of  king,  he  obtained  it,  and  was  crowned  in  752  by  St. 
Boniface,  the  apostle  of  Germany.  He  then  assembled  the  general 
comitia  at  Soissons,  and,  relying  on  his  own  power,  the  name  of  his 


ancestors,  and  the  Papal  sanction,  he  was  elected  King  of  the  Franks. 
Childeric  returned  to  his  cloister,  which  his  race  never  left  again  ; 
and  Pepin  founded  a  second  royal  dynasty,  which  was  called  the 
Carlovingian,  after  his  father's  name. 

The  power  of  the  Merovingian  kings  had  attained  its  apogee  under 
Dagobert  I.  The  Frank  Empire  had  at  that  time  for  its  boundaries 
the  German  Ocean,  the  Atlantic,  the  Pyrenees,  the  Mediterranean, 
the  Adriatic,  the  Upper  Danube,  and  the  Rhine.  The  various  nations 
inhabiting  this  vast  territory  recognized  the  authority  of  the  Mero- 
vingian kings,  some  as  being  directly  subject  to  them,  others  as 

The  imperial  divisions  into  provinces  only  existed  in  the  ecclesi- 
astical order.  For  this  ancient  partition  of  the  territory  new  divisions 
had  been  substituted,  determined  by  the  successive  conquests  of  the 
barbarians,  and  the  good  pleasure  of  their  chiefs,  and  which  nearly  all 
have  ethnographical  denominations,  that  is  to  say,  borrowed  from  the 
different  nations  that  had  conquered  the  soil,  or  occupied  it,  such  as 
Frisia,  Burgundy,  Gothia,  Yascony,  &c.  Some,  however,  derived 
their  name  either  from  the  astronomical  or  geographical  situation  of 
the  country,  as  we  have  seen  in  the  case  of  Neustria  and  Austrasia  ;  or 
from  the  configuration  of  the  soil,  like  Champagne  (country  of  plains). 
Provence  (Provincia)  and  Aquitaine  (Aqruitania)  alone  retained  their 
Roman  names. 

The  great  divisions  of  the  Frank  Empire  directly  subject  to  the 
Merovingian  princes,  were — Neustria  (the  country  of  the  West)  and 
Austrasia  (country  of  the  East),  whose  limits,  as  already  described, 
varied  but  slightly  during  the  whole  existence  of  the  dynasty ;  Bur- 
gundy, which  also  comprised  Provence,  and  extended  from  the  southern 
frontier  of  Austrasia  as  far  as  the  Cevennes,  the  Mediterranean,  and 
the  Alps  ;  and  Aquitaine,  enclosed  between  the  Atlantic,  the  Loire,  and 
the  Garonne.  Dagobert  ceded  this  great  province  to  his  brother 
Caribert,  and  after  him  to  his  two  sons,  in  order  that  it  might  be  held 
by  them  and  their  descendants,  with  the  title  of  a  duchy.  ,  Aquitaine 
thus  remained  for  a  long  time  excluded  frcm  the  states  which  dimly 
recognized  the  authority  of  the  Merovingian  kings  or  of  the  mayors 
of  the  palace. 

Round  these  great  states  were  others  governed  by  separate  chiefs, 



82  GOVERNMENT  OF  CHARLES  MARTEL.    [Book  I.  Chap.  III. 

wlio  frequently  gave  the  Frank  kings  no  other  sign  of  submission 
beyond  a'  slight  tribute.  These  countries  were — to  the  north  of 
Austrasia,  between  the  Rhine  and  the  Weser,  Frisia  and  Thuringia ; 
to  the  east,  Allemania  and  Bavaria;  and  to  the  west  of  Neustria, 

Two  countries  to  the  south  of  Aquitaine  still  contended  for  inde- 
pendence :  they  were  Sejptimania  (Narbonensis  Prima),  covered  with 
fortified  places,  and  which,  defended  by  its  geographical  situation 
between  the  Rhone,  the  sea,  and  the  Pyrenees,  could  not  be  torn  from 
the  Yisigoths  ;  and  Vasconia  or  Qascony.  This  country,  which  occupied 
a  portion  of  JSTovenipopulania  (Lower  Languedoc),  again  formed,  on 
the  death  of  Eudes,  a  nearly  independent  state,  which  sustained,  as  we 
shall  see  in  the  reigns  of  the  *  descendants  of  that  prince,  long  wars 
against  Pepin  and  Charlemagne. 

The  territory  subject  to  the  Merovingians  was  divided,  as  concerns 
the  administration,  into  duchies  and  counties,  whose  limits  were  more 
or  less  extended  according  to  the  will  of  these  princes.  The  dukes 
and  counts  nominated  by  them  were  their  principal  military  and  civil 
officers.  These  were  the  Dukes  of  Auvergne,  Aquitaine,  Touraine, 
Poitou,  Burgundy,  Provence,  &c.  The  counts  were  intrusted  with 
the  government  of  the  old  municipal  cities,  and  also  with  the  admi- 
nistration of  the  paoi,  or  districts  forming  their  territories.  The 
subdivision  of  the  counties  into  hundreds,  or  tithings, '  dates  from  the 
sixth  century.  Bodies  of  one  hundred  and  of  ten  families  were 
certainly  formed  under  the  authority  of  a  civil  and  military  officer ; 
but  the  regular  organization  of  hundreds  and  tithings  was  only  in- 
troduced under  the  Carlo vingians. 

The  Church  alone  retained  the  old  Roman  division  into  provinces 
and  cities  much  as  the  Empire  had  formed  them.  An  ecclesiastical 
province  corresponded  with  each  of  the  seventeen  civil  provinces. 
Each  old  metropolis  was  the  see  of  an  archbishop,  and  the  one 
hundred  and  twenty  cities  or  territorial  districts  were  so  many 
dioceses.  In  the  fifth  century  the  Yiennaise  had  been  divided  into 
two  provinces,  that  of  Yienne  and  that  of  Aries.  The  number  of 
archbishoprics  was  thus  raised  to  eighteen.  These  ecclesiastical 
divisions  of  old  Graul  existed,  with  but  slight  modifications,  up  to  the 
fourteenth  century. 



Genealogical  Table  op  the  Merovingian  Kings. 

Clodion,  428-448 

Merovic,  448-458 

Childeric  I.,  458-481 

Clovis  I.,  481-511 

Thierry  I. , 

King  of  Austrasia, 


Theodebert  I., 





King  of  Orleans, 


Childebert  I., 

King  of  Paris, 


Clothair  I. , 

King  of  Soissons, 

Caribert  I.,  Gontran,  Sigebert,  Chijperic  L, 

King  of  Paris,     King  of  Burgundy,     King  of  Metz,     King  of  Soissons 
561-567.    '  561-593.  561-575.  561-584. 

Childebert  II., 

King  of  Austrasia 

and  Burgundy, 


Theodebert  II., 

King  of  Austrasia, 


Thierry  II., 

King  of  Burgundy, 


Clothair  II., 

King  of  Soissons, 

then  sole  King, 


Dagobert  I., 

King  of  Austrasia  (628), 

sole  King  631-638. 

Caribert  II., 

King  of  Aquitaine, 


Sigebert  II. , 
King  of  Austrasia, 

Dagobert  II., 

King  of  Austrasia, 


Clovis  II., 

King  of  Neustria 

and  of  Burgundy, 

then  sole  King, 



Clovis  II., 

King  of  Neustria, 

and  of  Burgundy, 

then  sole  King, 


Clothair  III., 

King  of  Neustria, 


Childeric  II., 

King  of  Austrasia, 

then  sole  King, 


Thierry  III., 
sole  King, 

Ohilperic  II., 


Childeric  III., 


Last  Merovingian  King. 

Clovis  III., 

Childehert  III. 

Dagobert  III., 

Thierry  IV., 


His  death  was  followed    by   an   interregnum  of  five  years,  after 
which  Childeric  III.  was  crowned. 

.    BOOK    II. 






The  race  of  Pepin  the  Short  and  Charlemagne,  before  commencing 
the  second  French  dynasty,  had  been  for  more  than  150  years  in 
possession  of  everything  that  attracts  and  merits  human  respect.  It 
was  distinguished  by  illustrious  birth,  and  the  triple  lustre  of  great 
services,  virtues,  and  the  most  exalted  dignities.  Several  of  its 
members  had  occupied,  with  glory,  the  episcopal  see  of  Metz,  and 
were  canonized,  and  we  have  seen  Austrasia  growing  in  power  under 
the  two  great  ancestors  of  this  family,  Pepin  the  Old  or  of  Landen, 
and  Pepin  of  Heristal.  Their  services  were  surpassed  by  the  great 
deeds  of  Charles  Martel,  the  vanquisher  of  the  Mussulmans,  who 
transmitted  his  name  to  all  his  descendants,  and  whose  son,  celebrated 
in  history  by  the  name  of  Pepin  the  Short,  was  the  first  king  of  his 

Pepin  was  the  first  to  grant  the  Pontiff  of  Rome  the  right  of  dis- 
posing of  crowns.  The  Lombards  at  that  time  possessed  the  whole 
northern  part  of  Italy,  and  there  King  Astolph  was  contesting  with 
Pope    Zachariah   the   government   of  the  city  of  Rome.     Zachariah 

86  KEIGN    OF    PEPIN    THE    SHORT.  [BOOK  II.  CHAP.  I. 

required  a  powerful  supporter,  and,  counting  on  the  help  of  Pepin  if 
he  could  render  him  favourable  to  his  cause,  he  declared  that  the  throne 
belonged  to  the  man  who  performed  the  duties  of  king,  even  though 
he  did  not  occupy  it.  The  most  respected  authority  at  the  time  was 
that  of  the  Church:  and  Pepin,  feeling  the  necessity  of  giving  an 
imposing  sanction  to  his  usurpation,  received  for  his  coronation  the 
ceremonies  employed  at  that  of  the  Jewish  kings.  This  example  was 
followed  by  his  successors. 

Stephen  II.  succeeded  Zachariah  as  Pope.  Menaced  by  ihe  Lombards, 
he  went  to  Pepin  and  implored  his  support.  The  King  treated  him 
with  the  greatest  honours,  and  the  Pontiff  consecrated  him  a  second 
time,  with  his  two  sons,  Charles  and  Carloman.  In  the  sermon  which 
Stephen  preached  on  this  occasion,  he  implored  the  Franks  never  to 
elect  a  king  from  any  other  family  but  that  of  Pepin,  and  excommu- 
nicated those  who  might  be  tempted  to  do  so.  From  this  time  the 
papal  power  daily  made  rapid  progress.  The  Popes  soon  believed 
themselves  masters  of  the  world :  they  demanded  the  obedience  of 
the  sovereigns  whom  they  crowned  and  deposed  according  to  their 
caprices  ;  and  streams  of  blood  were'shed  in  supporting  or  combating 
their  arrogant  claims. 

Stephen  had  implored  Pepin's  assistance  against  Astolph,  King  of 
the  Lombards.  The  Frank  monarch  collected  an  army,  led  it  to  Italy, 
was  victorious,  and  ceded  to  the  Pope  the  Exarchate  of  Ravenna.* 

Pepin  successfully  waged  long  and  sanguinary  wars  with  the  Bre- 
tons, Saxons,  Saracens,  and  Aquitanians.  The  latter,  more  especially, 
offered  him  a  furious  resistance.  Their  vast  province,  as  we  have 
seen,  had  been  several  times  detached  from  the  monarchy  of  the  Franks. 
The  families  of  the  conquerors  who  settled  there  had  adopted  the 
manners  and  language  of  the  population,  who  were  of  Gallic  or  Roman 
origin,  and  spoke  a  corrupt  Latin.  The  Aquitanians,  more  civilized 
than  the  Franks,  ever  detested  the  latter  as  barbarians.  The  revolution 
which,  by  elevating  the  Carlovingians,  had  surrounded  the  throne 
with  new  Austrasian  or  Germanic  bands,  gave  their  government,  in 

*  The  name  of  Exarchate  had  been  given  to  this  territory  because  Ravenna  was  for  a 
long  time  the  residence  of  the  exarchs  or  viceroys  of  Italy.  The  celebrated  Pentapolis 
(five  cities),  composed  of  Rimini,  Pesaro,  Fano,  Smigaglia,  and  Amona,  formed  part  of 
the  exarchate. 

752-814.]  KEIGN   OF   PEPIN   THE    SHORT.  87 

the  eyes  of  the  Aquitanians,  an  even  more  savage  ^appearance,  and 
redoubled  the  horror  with  which  it  inspired  them. 

Still,  after  the  defeat  of  the  Saracens  at  Poitiers,  Duke  Eudes 
remained  at  peace  with  Charles  Martel,  whose  suzerainty  he  had 
recognized.  He  died  in  735,  leaving  Aquitaine  to  his  elder  son 
Hunald,  and  Gascony  to  his  second  son  Otton.  Hunald  despoiled  his 
brother  of  the  greater  part  of  his  states,  and  resolved  to  rend  the 
bonds  that  subjected  him  to  the  Kings  of  the  Franks.  He,  therefore, 
waged  war  against  Carloman  and  Pepin,  the  sons  of  Charles  Martel, 
with  the  greater  energy  because  he  was  a  Merovingian,  and  regarded 
them  as  usurpers  of  the  rights  of  his  family.  In  745,  however,  when 
Pepin  invaded  Aquitaine  at  the  head  of  a  formidable  army,  Hunald 
ostensibly  submitted,  laid  down  his  arms,  and  swore  fidelity  to  the 
Frank  kings.  This  humiliation  to  the  enemies  of  his  race  concealed 
other  thoughts,  which  were  aroused  in  him.  either  through  the  decline 
of  his  strength,  or  the  pride  and  hope  which  he  had  in  his  son  Guaifer. 
This  young  prince  possessed  all  the  qualities  that  constitute  a  hero, 
and  Hunald  saw  in  him  the  only  man  capable  of  defending  Aquitaine 
against  the  Franks.  He  resolved  to  abdicate,  and,  after  placing 
Aquitaine  in  the  valiant  hands  of  his  son,  he  bade  him  farewell,  put 
on  a  monk's  robe,  and  shut  himself  up  in  the  monastery  of  the  Isle  of 
Re,  where  his  father  Eudes  lay  interred. 

The  war  was  suspended  for  several  years  between  Gruaifer  and 
Pepin :  both  observed  each  other  and  collected  their  forces  before 
attacking.  Gruaifer  had  opened  his  states  to  Greffo,  Pepin's  brother, 
who  had  rebelled  against  him,  but  he  only  kept  him  a  short  time.  The 
war  between  the  Franks  and  Lombards  was  still  going  on.  Greflb 
resolved  to  go  to  Italy  and  join  King  Astolph  ;  he  left  Guaifer  and 
perished  on  his  journey.  Pepin,  after  bringing  the  Italian  war  to  a 
successful  end,  resolved  to  conquer  Septimania,  before  attacking  the 
son  of  Hunald.  He  subjected  that  country,  which  was  weary  of  the 
Saracen  yoke,  recaptured  Narbonne,  and  annexed  the  whole  province 
to  the  Frank  monarchy,  after  which  he  invaded  Aquitaine.  Then 
commenced  a  nine  years'  war,  marked  by  frightfcd  devastations.  Pepin 
ravaged  Berri,  Auvergne,  and  the  Limousin  with  fire :  Guaifer  requited 
it  by  ravages  on  the  Franks ;  but,  at  last,  having  lost  Clermont, 
Bourges,   and  his   principal   towns,  he   levelled  the  walls  of  all  the 

88  REIGN   OF  PEPIN  THE   SHOET.  [Book  II.  Chap.  I. 

others.  He  perished  soon  after,  assassinated  by  his  countrymen. 
With  him  the  name  of  Merovingians  became  extinct  in  history,  and 
the  grand- duchy  of  Aquitaine  was  again  attached  to  the  crown  of  the 

Pepin  bestowed  great  largesse  on  the  clergy,  and  through  his  whole 
life  displayed  the  greatest  deference  to  them.  He  frequently  assembled 
the  comitia  of  the  kingdom,  to  which  he  always  summoned  the 
bishops,  seeking  to  interest  them  in  the  success  of  his  enterprises. 
He  was  of  short  stature,  whence  his  sobriquet :  but  is  said  to  have 
possessed  great  courage  and  prodigious  strength.  History  gives  us  an 
instance  which  should  perhaps  be  placed  amid  fables,  but  which,  at 
any  rate,  depicts  the  manners  of  this  barbarous  age.  Combats  of  wild 
animals  were  the  chief  amusement  at  the  court  of  the  Frank  kings. 
Pepin  was  present  at  one  of  these,  in  which  a  lion  attacked  a  bull. 
The  latter  was  all  but  defeated,  when  Pepin  pointed  to  the  savage  com- 
batants, and  shouted  to  the  members  of  his  suite,  "  Which  of  you  will 
dare  to  separate  them?"  No  one  answered.  Pepin  leaped  into  the 
arena  and  cut  off  the  heads  of  the  animals.  "  Well,"  he  said  to  his 
lords,  as  he  threw  away  his  blood- dripping  sword,  "  am  I  worthy  to  be 
your  king  ?  "  In  truth,  it  was  sufficient  at  that  day  to  be  brave  and 
strong  in  order  to  merit  the  throne.  Pepin  combined  with  these  two 
qualities  moderation  and  prudence.  He  asked  the  advice  of  his  nobles 
in  dividing  his  estates  between  his  two  sons  Charles  and  Carloman, 
and  died  in  768,  after  a  reign  of  seventeen  years. 

The  assembly  of  nobles  and  bishops  had  recognized  Charles  as  king 
of  the  west,  and  Carloman  as  king  of  the  east. 

The  first  expedition  of  the  two  brothers  was  directed,  by  mutual 
agreement,  against  Aquitaine,  where  an  insurrection  had  been  brought 
about  by  the  aged  Hunald,  who,  to  avenge  his  son  Guaifer,  emerged 
from  the  monastery  in  which  he  had  lived  for  twenty- three  years. 
His  efforts  were  powerless,  and  Hunald,  betrayed  and  conquered,, 
sought  refuge  with  the  King  of  the  Lombards. 

Ambition  soon  armed  Charles  and  Carloman  against  each  other. 
The  death  of  the  latter,  which  event  took  place  in  770,  stifled  the 
germs  of  civil  war,  and  Charles  usurped  the  states  of  his  brother,  to 
the  prejudice  of  his  nephews.  The  latter,  with  their  mother,  found 
an  asylum  in  Lombardy.     The  whole  nation  of  the  Franks  from  this 

752-814.]  .     CHAELEMAGNE.  89 

moment  recognized  the  authority  of  Charles,  for  whom  his  victories 
and  great  qualities  acquired  the  glorious  surname  of  Great  or  Magnus, 
and  who  is  only  known  in  history  by  the  name  of  Charlemagne. 



Dueing  a  reign  of  forty-six  years  this  prince  extended  his  frontiers 
beyond  the  Danube,  imposed  tribute  on  the  barbarian  nations,  as  far 
as  the  Vistula,  conquered  a  portion  of  Italy,  and  rendered  himself  for- 
midable to  the  Saracens.  He  first  went  into  Italy,  on  the  entreaty  of 
Pope  Adrian  I.,  and  marched  to  assist  him  against  Didier,  King  of  the 
Lombards,  whose  daughter  he  had  himself  married  and  repudiated. 
He  made  this  king  a  prisoner,  and  put  an  end  to  the  Lombard  rule  in 
Italy,  which  had  lasted  for  two  hundred  and  six  years.  Arigisus,  son- 
in-law  of  King  Didier,  continued,  however,  to  defend  himself  in  his 
duchy  of  Benevent.  Charlemagne,  during  this  expedition,  went  to 
Rome,  where  he  humbly  presented  himself  to  the  Pope,  whom  he  had 
saved,  kissing  each  step  of  the  pontifical  palace.  He  believed  himself 
called  to  subject  to  Christianity  the  barbarous  nations  of  Europe,  and 
when  persuasion  did  not  avail  to  the  triumph  of  the  faith,  he  had 
recourse  to  conquest  and  punishments. 

The  Saxons  formed  at  this  period  a  considerable  nation,  divided 
into  a  multitude  of  small  republics.  They  were  idolators,  like  the 
northern  tribes.  Their  colonies  had  possessed  England  for  a  long  time 
past,  and  had  formerly  also  subjugated  some  districts  in  northern 
Gaul.  Their  assemblies  were  held  annually  on  the  banks  of  the 
Weser.  At  one  of  these,  in  771,  a  priest  of  the  name  of  Libuin 
invited  them  to  be  converted,  while  threatening  them  with  a  great 
king  of  the  west.  The  Saxons  took  no  heed  of  his  words,  and  wanted 
to  massacre  him :  they  burnt  the  church  of  Daventer  and  all  the 
Christians  in  it.  Charlemagne  heard  of  this  and  marched  against 
them.  A  great  man  of  the  name  of  Wittikind  commanded  their  army, 
but  his  heroism  was  of  no  avail.  The  Saxons  were  conquered  and 
subjected.  Charlemagne,  after  putting  down  several  revolts,  held  a 
celebrated  assembly  at  Paderborn,  where  he  obliged  all  the  Saxons  to 
receive  baptism,  and  divided  their  principalities  among  abbots  and 

90  CHARLEMAGNE.  [Book  IL  Chap.  I. 

bishops.     Hence  dates  the  origin  of  the  ecclesiastical  principalities  in 
Germany.     Wittikind  took  refnge  with  a  northern  king. 

After  conquering  the  Saxons,  Charlemagne  turned  his  arms  against 
the  Saracens.  This  people,  in  subjecting  Spain,  had  taken  to  that 
country  civilization  and  learning.  Civil  wars  began,  in  the  eighth 
century,  to  shake  their  power  there.  The  Mussulmans  were  divided 
between  the  family  of  the  Abassides,  who  resided  at  Bagdad,  and  that 
of  the  Ommiades,  who  governed  Spain.  The  latter  country,  how- 
ever, was  agitated  by  factions,  and  one  of  them  entreated  the  aid  of 
Charlemagne  against  Abd-ul-Rahman,  lieutenant  of  the  Caliph  Om- 
miades. This  great  man  seized  the  opportunity  which  was  offered 
him  of  driving  back  Islamism  beyond  the  Ebro,  and  thus  extinguish- 
ing a  formidable  focus  of  troubles  and  revolts  on  his  own  frontiers : 
he  therefore  sent  two  powerful  armies  into  Spain.  Saragossa  was  the 
point  selected  for  their  junction ;  for  the  Arab  Emir  who  commanded 
that  place  had  promised  to  surrender  it  to  the  Frank  monarch. 
Charlemagne's  expectations  were  deceived :  Saragossa  did  not  open  its 
gates,  and  was  besieged  to  no  effect.  The  whole  province,  on  which  he 
had  reckoned  to  help  him,  rose  against  him.  The  principal  object  of 
this  famous  expedition  proved  a  failure :  other  cares,  moreover, 
recalled  Charlemagne,  and  he  ordered  a  retreat.  The  defiles  of  the 
mountains  were  held  at  the  time  by  the  Basque  nation,  who  resided  in 
Vasconia,  a  country  governed  by  Duke  Wolf  IL,  son  of  Guaifer,  and 
grandson  of  Hunald.  This  prince  had  inherited  the  hatred  of  his 
race  for  the  family  of  Charlemagne,  and  when  he  saw  the  Frank  army, 
on  its  retreat,  entangled  in  the  defiles  of  Bonce svalles,  he  had  it 
attacked  by  his  mountaineers,  who  rolled  stones  and  rocks  down  on  it. 
The  disaster  was  immense :  the  rearguard  was  destroyed  to  the  last 
man  ;  and  here,  too,  perished  the  famous  Paladin  Boland,  who  is  hardly 
known  in  history,  and  so  celebrated  in  the  romances  of  chivalry. 

Charlemagne  completed,  in  the  following  year,  the  conquest  of 
Saxony,  which  had  again  revolted  and  defeated  his  lieutenants.  He 
subjected  it  once  again  in  782,  and,  in  order  to  keep  it  in  check  by  a 
terrible  example,  he  beheaded,  on  the  banks  of  the  Aller,  four  thousand 
five  hundred  Saxon  prisoners.  This  cruel  deed  exasperated  their 
countrymen.  "Wittikind  had  reappeared  among  them ;  they  were  twice 
defeated  and  cut  to  pieces  at  Detmold,  near  Osnaburg,  and  remained 

752-814.]  CHARLEMAGNE.  91 

quiet  for  several  years.  Wittikind  laid  down  his  arms  in  785,  and 
proceeded  to  Attigny-sur- Seine  to  do  homage  to  the  King  of  the 

The  Frisons,  the  Bretons  of  Armorica,  and  the  Bavarians  next 
revolted:  they  attacked  Charlemagne  simultaneously,  and  tried  his 
power.  Tassillon,  Duke  of  Bavaria,  was  son-in-law  of  King  Didier, 
and  brother-in-law  of  Arigisus,  Duke  of  Benevent.  He  summoned 
the  Avarians  and  Sclavons  to  his  assistance,  and,  in  accordance  with 
Arigisus,  rose  against  the  Franks :  but  he  was  conquered  without  a 
contest,  accused  of  treason  at  the  assembly  of  Ingelheim,  condemned 
to  death,  and  eventually  confined  in  the  monastery  of  Jumieges.  The 
nationality  of  the  Bavarians  was  destroyed,  as  that  of  the  Lombards 
had  been.  The  duchy  of  Benevent,  protected  by  the  mountains  of 
the  south,  alone  escaped  the  conqueror. 

Charles  had  given  Aquitaine,  with  the  royal  title,  to  his  son  Louis, 
under  the  guardianship  of  William  Shortnose,  Duke  of  Toulouse. 
Three  other  great  provinces  were  equally  subject  to  the  authority  of 
the  young  king.  They  were — on  the  east,  Septimania  or  Languedoc, 
conquered  by  Pepin  the  Short ;  on  the  west,  Nbvempopulania  or  Gas- 
cony  ;  and  lastly,  on  the  south,  the  marches  of  Spain.  This  name  was 
given  to  the  provinces  conquered  by  the  Franks  beyond  the  Pyrenees 
They  were  divided  into  the  march  of  Gotkia,  which  contained  nearly 
the  whole  of  Catalonia ;  and  the  march  of  Gascony,  which  extended  as 
far  as  the  Ebro  into  Arragon  and  Navarre.  The  latter  provinces  had 
for  their  chiefs  Saracen  lords  who,  according  to  circumstances,  obeyed 
in  turn  the  Frank  king  and  the  Arabic  sovereign.  This  vast  kingdom 
of  young  Louis',  bordered  by  the  Loire,  the  Ebro,  the  Rhone,  and  the 
two  seas,  was  attacked  in  793  by  the  Saracen  general  Abd-ul-Malak, 
who  defeated  Duke  William  at  the  passage  of  the  Orbrin,  made  a 
great  carnage  in  the  Christian  army,  and  returned  to  Spain  with 
immense  booty.  Charlemagne  deferred  taking  his  revenge :  he  was 
occupied  with  Church  matters,  the  opinions  of  the  faithful  being 
divided  at  the  time  between  the  second  Council  of  ISTicaea,  which,  in 
787,  had  ordered  the  adoration  of  images,  and  the  Council'of  Frank- 
furt, which  condemned  them  in  497  as  idolatry.  Charlemagne  ener- 
getically supported  the  decision  of  the  last-named  council,  and  defended 
it  against  the  Pope  in  a  treatise  divided  into  four  books,  which  were 

92  CHARLEMAGNE.  [Book  II.  Chap.  I. 

called  the  Caroline  Books.  Adrian,  who  adopted  the  opinion  of 
the  Council  of  Nicsea,  however,  avoided  the  expression  of  any  view, 
and  evaded  the  question  in  order  not  to  offend  his  powerful  pro- 

Charlemagne  next  turned  his  efforts  against  the  Avarians,  indefa- 
tigable horsemen  inhabiting  the  marshes  of  Hungary.  After  several 
disastrous  expeditions  had  been  undertaken  to  subdue  them,  Pepin,  his 
son,  penetrated  into  their  country  at  the  head  of  a  Lombardese  and 
Bavarian  army,  and  seized  their  famous  fortified  camp  called  Buy,  in 
which  they  had  collected  for  a  number  of  years  the  spoils  of  the  East. 
Pepin  carried  them  off,  and  his  father  distributed  them  among  his 
favourites  and  the  nobles  of  his  court. 

The  Saxons  had  joined  the  Avarians  in  this  war  ;  they  had  burnt 
the  churches,  murdered  the  priests,  and  returned  in  crowds  to  their 
false  gods.  Charlemagne  then  adopted  against  them  a  system  of 
extermination  ;  he  established  himself  with  an  army  on  the  Weser, 
ravaged  Saxony  with  fire  and  sword,  carried  off  a  large  number  of 
the  inhabitants,  either  as  prisoners  or  hostages,  and  transported  them 
to  the  western  and  southern  countries.  But  the  Saxons  were  not  finally 
subdued  till  the  year  804,  after  thirty-two  years  of  fighting,  revolt, 
and  massacres.  Charlemagne,  in  order  to  watch  and  restrain  them 
the  better,  transferred  his  usual  residence  to  Aix-la-Chapelle,  which  he 
made  the  capital  of  his  empire. 

Leon  III.  succeeded  Adrian  I.  in  795  upon  the  pontifical  throne. 
Priests  conspired  to  drag  him  off  it.  Wounded  and  imprisoned  by  them, 
he  escaped  and  fled  to  Spoleto,  where  he  implored  the  help  of  Charle- 
magne, who  made  a  last  journey  to  Italy  for  the  purpose  of  restoring 
Leon  his  crown.  Charles,  on  Christmas  day,  was  on  his  knees  and 
praying  in  the  Cathedral  of  St.  Peter :  the  Pope  went  up  to  him  and 
placed  the  imperial  crown  upon  his  head.  The  people  straightway 
saluted  him  with  the  name  of  Augustus  ;  and  from  this  moment 
Charlemagne  regarded  himself  as  the  real  successor  of  the  Roman 
Emperors  of  the  West.  He  adopted  the  titles  and  ceremonials  of  the 
court  of  Byzantium,  with  which  he  kept  up  regular  relations,  and,  in 
order  to  establish  the  empire  in  its  integrity,  the  only  thing  remaining 
was  for  him  to  espouse  the  Empress  Irene,  who,  after  having  her  son 
assassinated,  was  reigning  at  Constantinople.    Such  was  Charlemagne's 

752-814.]  CHARLEMAGNE.  93 

wish,  but  he  was  unable  to  accomplish  it,  for  Irene  was  dethroned  and 
died  in  exile. 

Charlemagne,  after  his  coronation  as  Emperor,  had  but  insignificant 
wars  to  wage,  and  on  attaining  the  supreme  dignity,  he  also  reached 
the  end  of  his  most  difficult  enterprises.  He  received  in  his  palace  at 
Aix-la-Chapelle  the  homage  of  the  independent  princes  of  the  Veneli 
and  Dalmatians,  who  ruled  at  the  other  extremity  of  Europe ;  and 
such  was  the  ascendency  of  his  name  and  fortune  that  he  saw  several 
nations  voluntarily  range  themselves  under  his  laws. 

During  the  last  eight  years  of  his  reign  he  promulgated  decrees  and 
instituted  numerous  administrative,  ecclesiastical,  judicial,  and  military 
institutions,  which  were  all  intended  to  strengthen  the  social  order, 
and  maintain  all  parts  of  his  immense  empire  in  union  and  peace.  He 
convened,  at  the  field  of  Mars,  in  the  year  806,  an  assembly  of  the 
nobles  of  his  kingdom,  in  order  to  arrange  with  them  the  partition  of 
his  states  between  his  three  sons,  Charles,  Pepin,  and  Louis.  To  the 
first  he  assigned  the  northern  part  of  Gaul  with  Germany ;  to  the 
second  he  gave  Italy  and  Bavaria  with  his  conquests  in  Pannonia  ;  the 
third  had  Aquitaine,  Burgundy,  and  the  marches  of  Spain.  This 
division,  consented  to  by  the  nobles  and  the  people,  was  sanctioned  by 
the  Pope. 

The  last  years  of  Charlemagne  were  saddened  by  domestic  sorrows. 
He  had  to  blush  at  the  irregularities  of  his  daughters,  and  lamented  the 
death  of  his  two  eldest  sons,  Charles  and  Pepin.  The  first  left  no 
children,  the  second  had  a  son,  Bernard,  to  whom  the  Emperor  granted 
the  kingdom  of  Italy.  He  next  wished  to  have  the  last  of  his 
legitimate  sons,  whom  death  had  spared,  Louis,  King  of  Aquitaine, 
recognized  as  his  successor,  and  summoned  him  to  the  great  Sep- 
tember assembly  at  Aix-la-Chapelle.  There  he  presented  his  son  to 
the  bishops,  abbots,  counts,  and  lords  of  the  Franks,  and  asked  them 
to  recognize  him  as  emperor.  All  consented.  Then,  desirous  that  his 
son's  power  should  devolve  on  him  from  God  Himself,  he  laid  on  the 
altar  a  crown  resembling  his  own,  and  after  giving  Louis  an  affecting 
exhortation  about  his  duties  to  the  Church,  his  subjects,  and  relatives, 
he  ordered  him  to  take  up  the  crown  and  place  it  on  bis  brow. 

Charlemagne  was  attaining  the  close  of  his  glorious  career.  He 
devoted  the  last  months  of  his  life  to  devotional  works,  and  divided 

94  CHAKLEMAGNE.  [Book  II.  Chap.  I. 

his  time  between  prayer,  the  distribution  of  alms,  and  the  study  of 
versions  of  the  Gospels  in  different  languages.  He  directed  this  task 
up  to  the  eve  of  his  death.  He  was  attacked  by  fever  toward  the 
middle  of  January,  814.  He  languished  for  some  days ;  then,  feeling 
death  at  hand,  he  received  the  sacraments  at  the  hands  of  Hildebald, 
his  chaplain,  and,  arranging  his  limbs  for  the  eternal  rest,  he  closed 
his  eyes,  repeating,  in  a  low  voice,  "  In  manus  tuas  commendo  spiriturn 
meum"  and  expired.  He  had  entered  into  his  seventy- second  year: 
he  had  reigned  for  forty- seven  years  over  the  Franks,  forty- three  over 
the  Lombards,  and  fourteen  over  the  Empire  of  the  West.  He  was 
interred  at  Aix-la-Chapelle,  in  the  Church  of  St.  Mary,  which  he  built. 

The  exploits  and  conquests  of  this  great  monarch,  too  often 
stamped  with  the  barbarism  of  the  age,  are  not  his  greatest  titles 
to  the  admiration  and  respect  of  posterity.  What  really  elevates 
him  above  his  age,  is  the  legislative  spirit,  and  the  genius  of  civiliza- 
tion, both  of  which  he  possessed  in  an  eminent  degree.  Charlemagne 
undertook  to  substitute  order  for  anarchy,  learning  for  ignorance,  in 
the  vast  countries  that  obeyed  him,  and  to  subject  to  the  laws  and  a 
regular  administration,  so  many  nations,  still  savage,  strangers  to 
each  other,  differing  in  origin,  language,  and  manners,  and  with  no 
other  link  among  them  than  that  of  conquest. 

The  principal  and  permanent  division  which  he  established  in  his 
empire  was  the  county,  a  division  generally  responding  to  the  old 
Roman  districts  called  cities.  The  counts  or  principal  officers 
of  the  state,  held  all  the  ^  civil,  judicial,  and  military  attributes. 
Below  them  were  the  hundredmen,  also  called  viquiers,  or  vicars  ;  they 
were  called  liundredmen,  because  their  authority  extended  over  a 
canton,  or  territory  originally  occupied  by  one  hundred  families.  The 
Emperor  had  the  permanent  officers  and  magistrates  watched  by  a 
certain  number  of  high  functionaries,  called  royal  envoys  or  missi 
dominici,  who  corresponded  directly  with  him ;  they  were  intrusted 
with  the  duty  of  inspecting  the  various  counties,  and  presiding  over 
the  provincial  assemblies. 

In  addition  to  these  assemblies,  at  which  local  interests  were  dis- 
cussed, two  great  national  assemblies  were  convened  annually.  These 
meetings,  whose  origin  dated  back  to  the  old  customs  of  Germany, 
had  fallen  into  desuetude  under  the  last  Merovingian  kings.     They 

752-814.]  CHARLEMAGNE.  95 

acquired  a  new  authority  on  the  accession  of  the  second  race,  which 
was  raised  to  the  throne  by  the  Austrasian  armies,  in  which  the 
Germanic  element  prevailed.  These  assemblies  were  almost  sovereign 
after  the  reign  of  Charlemagne.  But  this  prince  was  always  able  to 
direct  them ;  they  were  inspired  with  his  genius,  and  generally 
restricted  themselves  to  sanctioning  his  wishes.  At  this  epoch  they 
were,  besides,  but  the  shadow  of  the  great  malls,  at  which  the  great 
nation  of  the  Franks  formerly  assembled.  The  influence  of  Gallo- 
Eoman  civilization,  the  distances  to  be  covered,  and  the  inequality 
which  was  established  among  the  conquerors  themselves,  modified  the 
composition  of  these  great  assemblies,  from  which  the  public  were 
soon  excluded.  "  It  was  the  custom,"  writes  Archbishop  Hincmar,  "  to 
hold  two  assemblies  annually.  The  first  took  place  in  the  spring.  The 
general  affairs  of  the  kingdom  were  regulated  at  it ;  and  no  event, 
unless  it  was  an  absolute  necessity,  caused  any  change  in  what  had 
been  settled.  At  this  assembly  came  together  all  the  nobles  (majores) 
both  ecclesiastics  and  laymen  (dukes,  counts,  and  bishops) :  they 
formed  decisions,  and  submitted  them  for  adhesion  to  the  members  of 
fhe  second  class  (minores — the  vicars,  hundredmen,  and  royal  officers 
of  inferior  rank),  irho  were  merely  consulted."  Hincmar  goes  on  to 
tell  us  that  "  the  other  assembly,  at  which  the  general  ^gifts  of  the 
kingdom  were  received,  was  solely  composed  of  the  most  important 
members  of  the  previous  assembly,  and  the  king's  councillors.  At  it 
were  discussed  affairs  for  which  it  was  necessary  to  make  provision — 
war,  truce,  administrative  measures,  &c.  At  both  these  assemblies  the 
king  submitted  for  deliberation  the  articles  of  law,  called  capitula, 
which  he  had  himself  drawn  up,  with  the  inspiration  of  Grod,  or  which 
had  been  found  necessary  in  the  interval  between  the  two  assemblies. 
Messengers  of  the  palace  served  as  intermediators  between  the 
assembly  and  the  prince  ;  still,  if  the  members  expressed  the  desire, 
the  king  would  go  to  them,  remain  as  long  as  they  pleased,  and  they 
gave  him  their  opinion  on  all  sorts  of  matters  in  a  most  familiar  way, 
questioning  him,  and  recommending  each  to  inform  himself  of  all  that 
was  going  on  within  and  without  the  empire  during  the  period  before 
the  next  meeting."  * 

*  Epist.  ad  Proceres  regu.  pro  instit.  Carolomanni  regis  et  de  ordine  palat.  ex  Ada- 
lardo.     (Hincmar,  Opera,  Vol.  II.,  pp.  201-205.) 

96  CHARLEMAGNE.  [Boos  II.  CHAP.  I. 

A  part  of  tlie  ordinances  to  which  Hincmar  alludes  by  the  name  of 
capitulars  has  been  handed  down  to  us,  and,  in  spite  of  their  confused 
language,  they  bear  testimony  to  the  wisdom  of  their  author.  His 
genius  embraces  everything.  He  provides  with  equal  intelligence  for 
the  greatest  interests  of  his  people  and  the  administration  of  his 
private  domains.  His  chief  attention  is  directed  to  the  clergy,  whom 
he  provides  for  by  tithes,  in  order  to  compensate  them  for  the 
spoliations  of  Charles  Martel.  He  prescribes  to  ecclesiastics  subordi- 
nation, the  obligation  of  self-instruction,  the  transmission  of  their 
learning  to  the  people,  the  reformation  of  abuses,  and  a  prohibition  of 
appearing  in  arms  and  fighting.  It  was  a  small  thing  to  make  wise 
laws,  but  their  execution  had  also  to  be  provided  for.  Charlemagne 
succeeded  in  effecting  this  by  means  of  his  envoys.  We  have  seen 
that  they  corresponded  directly  with  the  Emperor ;  he  was  also 
informed  of  everything,  and  his  authority  acted  simultaneously  at 
each  point  of  his  vast  estates. 

Charlemagne  understood  that  the  most  efficacious  method  of  civi- 
lizing a  nation  is  by  instructing  it ;  he  consequently  sought  to  restore 
a  taste  for  letters  and  the  arts.  He  encouraged  the  laborious  tasks  of 
the  monks,  who  preserved  the  celebrated  writings  of  antiquity  by 
transcribing  them  ;  he  even  obliged  the  princesses,  his  daughters,  to 
occupy  themselves  in  this  task.  He  founded  and  supported  schools  in 
a  multitude  of  places  ;  he  frequently  inspected  them  himself,  and 
examined  the  pupils.  He  established  one  in  his  own  palace  ;  and  the 
following  words,  addressed  by  him  to  the  young  students  who  frequented 
it,  have  been  recorded  : — "Because  you  are  rich,  and  sons  of  the  first 
men  in  my  kingdom,  you  believe  that  your  birth  and  wealth  are  suffi- 
cient for  you,  and  that  you  have  no  need  of  these  studies,  which  would 
do  you  so  much  honour.  You  only  think  of  dress,  sport,  and  pleasure  : 
but  I  swear  to  you  I  attach  no  weight  to  this  nobility  and  this  wealth 
which  attract  consideration  to  you ;  and,  if  you  do  not  recover  most 
speedily  by  assiduous  study  the  time  you  have  lost  in  frivolities,  you 
will  never  more  obtain  anything  from  Charles." 

He  employed  of  preference  in  affairs  of  state  those  persons  who 
were  distinguished  by  their  acquirements.  A  library  had  been  formed 
by  his  care  in  his  palace  of  Aix-la-Chapelle,  and,  during  his  meals,  he 
had  esteemed  works  read  to  him  or  conversed  with  learned  men.     His 

752-814]  CHAELEMAGNE.  97 

secretary,  Eginhard,  who  lias  left  us  curious  details  about  this  reign, 
was  one  of  the  most  learned  men  of  his  time  ;  and  Charlemagne  spared 
nothing  to  attract  to  his  court  men  of  letters  and  clever  professors. 
Among  those  who  enjoyed  his  favour,  the  most  celebrated  is  the  Saxon 
Alcuin,  a  prodigy  of  learning  for  the  age  in  which  he  lived. 

The  principal  occupation  of  those  who  applied  themselves  at  that 
time  to  letters  was  poetry,  the  study  of  grammar,  theology,  the 
Scriptures,  and  the  Church  Fathers.  Interminable  controversies  were 
carried  on  about  the  honours  which  ought  to  be  paid  to  images  ;  these 
disputes  occasioned  long  wars  in  the  East,  and  several  times  shook 
the  throne  of  Constantinople.  Geometry,  astronomy,  and  medicine 
were  cultivated,  but  charlatanism  and  superstition  disfigured  the  two 
last  sciences.  Exalted  men  or  scamps  asserted  that  they  could  read  the 
future  by  examining  the  planets  ;  and  this  false  science,  studied  under 
the  name  of  astrology,  was  long  held  in  honour.  People  were  beginning 
to  occupy  themselves  with  sculpture,  painting,  and  goldsmith's  work  ; 
and  among  the  fine  arts  architecture  was  cultivated.  Charlemagne 
enriched  his  residence  at  Aix-la-Chapelle  with  precious  marbles  from 
Ravenna,  and  the  spoils  of  several  other  Italian  cities  ;  he  also  erected 
numerous  buildings,  and  the  vestiges  of  the  edifices  of  that  age  display 
far  more  solidity  than  elegance  in  the  processes  of  the  art. 

Among  the  inventions  of  this  century  we  must  mention  paper  made 
of  cotton,  organs  played  by  water,  and  Turkey  carpets.  Clocks  with 
wheels  also  began  to  be  known  in  the  West ;  the  Caliph  Tlarcun-al- 
Haschid,  one  of  the  greatest  princes  the  Mussulmans  ever  had,  sent  a 
very  remarkable  and  valuable  one  to  Charlemagne.  The  Church 
chants  contributed  greatly  to  the  solemnity  of  the  service ;  people 
went  regularly  to  the  divine  office  in  the  daytime,  and  some  at  night 
too.  Charlemagne  decided  that  the  Gregorian  Chant  should  be  used 
in  all  the  churches  of  his  empire  ;  and  the  custom  established  in  the 
eighth  century  of  reckoning  the  years  by  the  Christian  era,  or  from 
the  birth  of  the  Saviour,  became  general  in  his  reign.  This  prince, 
who  was  ignorant  himself,  but  worthy,  through  his  genius,  of  sharing 
in  everything  that  was  great  and  useful,  seconded  mental  efforts  of 
every  description  by  his  assiduous  care,  praise,  and  rewards.  This 
was  the  way  in  which  he  employed  his  leisure  between  his  martial 


98  CHARLEMAGNE.  [Book  II.  Chap.  I. 

In  the  Empire  of  Charlemagne  a  distinction  must  be  drawn  between 
the  countries  directly  subject  to  the  Emperor  and  administered  by  his 
counts,  and  those  which  were  only  tributary.  The  former  alone  con- 
stituted the  Empire  properly  so  called,  whose  limits  were — to  the 
north,  the  German  Ocean  and  the  Baltic,  as  far  as  the  Island  of  Rugen ; 
to  the  west,  the  Atlantic,  as  far  as  the  Pyrenees  ;  to  the  south,  the 
course  of  the  Ebro,  the  Mediterranean,  from  the  mouth  of  the  Ebro, 
in  Spain,  to  that  of  the  Garigliano,  in  Italy,  and  the  Adriatic,  up  to 
the  promontory  of  Dalmatia ;  to  the  east,  Croatia,  the  course  of  the 
Theiss,  Moravia,  Bohemia,  a  part  of  the  Elbe,  and  a  line  which, 
starting  from  the  angle  which  the  latter  now  makes  when  turning 
westward,  would  run  along  the  western  shore  of  Rugen. 

The  immense  country  comprised  between  these  limits  was  adminis- 
tered by  the  free  counts.  We*  must,  however,  except  the  Armorican 
peninsula  or  Brittany,  which  was  only  tributary,  as  well  as  the  country 
of  the  Navarrese  and  Basques,  situated  between  the  Elbe  and  the 
Pyrenees  ;  the  States  of  the  Church,  or  Patrimony  of  St.  Peter, 
governed  by  the  Bishop  of  Rome  ;  Gaeta,  Venice,  and  a  certain 
number  of  maritime  cities  in  Dalmatia,  which  were  dependent  on  the 
Greek  Empire  of  Constantinople. 

Along  these  frontiers  was  a  number  of  tributary  states  more  or  less 
in  a  state  of  dependence  on  the  Emperor.  The  principal  nations  were 
— in  Italy,  the  Beneventines  ;  in  Germany,  several  Sclavonic  tribes  on 
the  banks  of  the  Danube,  the  Elbe,  and  the  Baltic,  up  to  the  Oder. 
The  sceptre  of  Charlemagne  also  extended,  in  the  Mediterranean, 
though  not  without  perpetual  and  sanguinary  conflicts,  over  the  Ba- 
learic Islands,  Corsica,  and  Sardinia. 

Charles  Martel,  Pepin,  and  Charlemagne,  after  taking  into  their 
own  hands  the  mayoralties  of  ISTeustria  and  Austrasia,  and  overthrowing 
the  hereditary  Dukes  of  Aquitaine,  Lombardy,  Allemania,  Tkuringia, 
Bavaria,  and  Frisia,  subjected  all  the  states  of  the  Prank  Empire  to 
the  same  political  organization.  Charlemagne  divided  them,  for 
administrative  purposes,  into  legations  and  counties,  which  responded 
generally  to  the  old  territorial  divisions  of  the  Roman  Empire  into 
provinces  and  cities.  These,  however,  were  wont  to  vary  according  to 
circumstances,  and  the  will  of  the  prince.  The  legations,  the  adminis- 
tration of  which  Charlemagne  entrusted  to  his  missi  or  envoys,  seem 

752-814]  CHARLEMAGNE.  99 

to  have  been  the  origin  of  the  principal  duchies.  The  Emperor  had 
received  the  direct  administration  of  the  countries  between  the  Rhine 
and  the  Meuse,  in  which  the  ancient  domains  of  his  family  were 

Some  provinces  upon  the  borders  bore,  as  we  have  already  stated, 
the  name  of  Marches.  They  were — the  "Western  March  (Austria)  : 
the  March  of  Oarinthia  (the  Duchy  of  Friseli),  to  which  were 
attached  all  the  countries  to  the  south  of  the  Drave,  and  the  two 
Marches  of  Spain,  Grothia  and  Grascony. 

In  addition  to  the  great  divisions  into  legations,  we  have  seen 
that  Charlemagne  established  or  reconstituted  for  his  sons  Louis 
and  Pepin  two  kingdoms :  that  is,  Italy,  with  the  March  of 
Carinthia  and  the  Patrimony  of  St.  Peter,  and  that  of  Aquitaine, 
with  the  Marches  of  Spain.  Still,  he  kept  the  two  kings  in  strict 
dependence  ;  and  though  they  had  a  more  pompous  title  and  more 
extensive  functions,  they  were  in  their  states,  like  the  missi  in  the 
legations,  no  more  than  the  first  lieutenants  and  representatives  of  the 

Pepin  ceded  to  the  Bishop  of  Rome  the  Exarchate  of  Ravenna  and 
the  Pentapolis :  Charlemagne  confirmed  this  gift.  These  two  territories, 
joined  to  the  city  of  Rome  and  the  surrounding  country,  formed  the. 
state  temporally  governed  by  the  Pope,  which  retained  the  name  of 
the  Patrimony  of  St.  Peter.  Authors  are  not  agreed  as  to  the  con- 
ditions on  which  this  donation  was  made ;  but  the  general  opinion  is 
that  the  Domain  or  Patrimony  of  St.  Peter  was  considered,  up  to  the 
reign  of  Louis  the  Debonnaire,  a  fief  dependent  on  the  Emperor. 

The  Merovingian  princes  had  laid  the  foundation  of  numerous  cities 
in  their  states,  and  more  especially  in  Neustria,  where  their  principal 
residences  were.  The  Carlovingian  kings,  their  successors,  made  their 
most  important  foundations  in  Austrasia,  and  beyond  the  Rhine. 
Many  cities  owe  their  existence  to  Charlemagne,  the  best  known 
among  them  being  Halle,  Hamburg,  Deventes,  Tugolstadt,  andAix-la- 
Chapelle.  The  latter  city,  which  he  rendered  flourishing  in  a  few 
years,  became  his  principal  residence,  and  capital  of  his  empire.  He 
also  founded  several  bishoprics,  and  numerous  monasteries,  most  of 
which  became,  in  the  course  of  time,  important  towns.  Many  other 
cities   were   also  embellished  and  enlarged  by  Charlemagne  ;  among 

ii  2 

100  CHARLEMAGNE.  [BOOK  II.  Chap.  I. 

others,  Ingellieini  and  Nimeguen,  where  lie  had  two  magnificent 
palaces,  Metz,  Mayence,  Strasburg,  Essenfeld,  Paderborn,  Ratisbon, 
and  Magdeburg,  which,  being  nearly  all  strongly  fortified,  served  as  a 
defence  or  barrier  to  his  empire. 

Charlemagne  kept  his  peoples  united  and  under  subjection  by  the 
ascendancy  of  his  glory  and  the  terror  of  his  arms  ;  but  for  vast 
associations  of  men  to  subsist  for  any  length  of  time  with  a  common 
centre  upon  an  immense  territory,  it  is  necessary  either  that  the 
peoples  should  submit  to  an  absolute  authority,  which  was  repulsive  to 
the  haughty  and  independent  humour  of  the  Frank  race,  or  else  that 
learning  and  civilization  should  have  made  sufficient  progress  for  them 
to  recognize  the  necessity  for  their  union,  as  well  as  the  obligation  of 
sacrificing  private  to  general  interests.  Such  was  not  the  state  of  the 
nations  governed  by  Charlemagne.  Some  distinguished  men  raised 
their  voices  in  vain :  the  masses  remained  plunged  in  barbarism.  A 
few  years  do  not  suffice  to  make  a  people  pass  from  a  savage  into  a 
civilized  state,  from  ignorance  to  learning.  Such  a  task  is  one  of  ages. 
Charlemagne  appeared  to  the  world  as  a  brilliant  meteor,  which,  in 
disappearing,  only  leaves  behind  a  reminiscence  of  its  brilliancy,  and 
the  vivid  light  it  shed  around  :  but  this  reminiscence  was  not  useless 
to  the  world,  and  the  example  which  this  great  man  gave  bore  its 
fruit  among  posterity.  He  himself,  however,  was  able  to  observe  the 
certain  signs  of  an  approaching  dissolution.  He  knew  the  national. 
enmities  which  subsisted  between  the  different  nations  he  had  sub- 
jected ;  and  the  calmness  which  they  had  long  enjoyed  internally  was 
not  that  of  a  nation  reposing  in  its  strength,  but  rather  a  ealm  of 
weariness  and  exhaustion.  His  capitularies  rendered  military  service; 
obligatory  on  every  free  man  possessed  of  a  meusa  of  land  or  twelve- 
acres,  under  penalty  of  paying  the  enormous  fine  of  sixty  pence  im 
gold,  or  the  loss  of  liberty :  a  great  number  preferred  slavery.  The 
greater  portion  of  the  crown  lands  had  been  given  to  nobles  and 
bishops  ;  and  the  right  of  possession  over  the  inhabitants  being  at  that 
time  confounded  with  the  ownership  of  the  soil,  a  multitude  of 
labourers  had  fallen  into  a  condition  of  serfdom.  The  free  men  them- 
selves, crushed  by  the  weight  of  taxation  and  military  service,  and 
wearied  with  so  long  a  reign,  eagerly  desired  its  termination.  They 
only  performed  with  repugnance  their  duty  as  citizens,  and  generally 

752-814]  CHARLEMAGNE.  101 


neglected  going  to  the  provincial  assemblies  or  those   of  the  Field  of 

The  expenses  of  the  journey,  and  the  presents  demanded  of  them, 
rightly  appeared  to  them  an  intolerable  burden  ;  and  they  displayed  no 
zeal  in  supporting  institutions,  of  which  they  recognized  neither  the 
wisdom  nor  the  utility. 

Such  were  the  imminent  precursive  signs  of  a  rapid  dissolution. 
Charlemagne's  presentiments  were  only  too  fully  justified  toward  the 
close  of  his  life.  New  nations,  that  came  from  the  north,  the  Danes, 
also  called  Normans,  infested  the  coasts  of  his  empire.  In  order  to 
repulse  them,  he  had  large  barques  built,  which  defended  the  mouth  of 
the  rivers.  This  barrier,  and  the  terror  he  inspired,  sufficed  during 
his  lifetime  to  keep  these  barbarian  invaders  aloof.  One  day,  however, 
ships,  manned  by  Scandinavian  pirates,  unexpectedly  entered  the  port 
of  a  town  in  Gallica  ISTarbonensis,  where  the  Emperor  was  residing.  He 
saw  them,  and,  going  up  to  a  window  to  watch  their  flight,  he  stood, 
there  for  a  long  time  with  his  face  bathed  in  tears.  Then,  turning  to 
the  nobles,  who  were  watching  him,  he  said  to  them,  "Do  you  know, 
my  faithful  friends,  why  I  am  weeping  so  bitterly  ?  Assuredly  I  do 
not  fear  that  these  pirates  will  injure  me,  but  I  am  profoundly 
afflicted  by  the  thought  that  they  nearly  landed  on  these  shores 
during  my  lifetime,  and  I  am  tortured  by  a  violent  grief,  when  I 
foresee  all  the  evils  they  will  inflict  on  my  nephews  and  their  peoples." 

The  perpetual  wars  which  Charlemagne  waged  in  order  to  maintain 
the  unity  of  his  immense  empire,  and  substitute  in  it  civilization  for 
barbarism,  originated  from  his  victories  themselves :  and  they  rather 
bear  testimony  to  the  greatness  of  his  efforts  than  to  their  success. 
His  work  remained  incomplete,  but  his  glory  consists  in  having  under- 
taken it ;  and  if  he  did  not  complete  it,  it  was  because  completing  was 

102  LOUIS    THE    DEBONNAIRE.  [BOOK  II.    Chap.  II. 






Charlemagne's  object  had  been  to  rescue  Europe  from  the  anarchical 
reign  6f  brute  force :  he  wished  that  his  will  should  be  everywhere 
present.  "He  applied  himself,"  as  a  modern  historian  has  said,  "to 
render  the  exercise  of  power  regular  and  salutary  to  the  people  ;  *  and 
he  everywhere  substituted  his  intelligent  and  central  action  for  the 
action  of  a  number  of*  blind  and  isolated  local  authorities,  whom  he 
held  in  check,  without  destroying.  These  powers  derived  their  origin 
and  force  from  old  Germanic  institutions  and  customs ;  and  these  did 
not  work  in  unison  either  to  establish  or  maintain  the  unity  of  a  vast 
Empire.  Among  these  customs,  three  were  quite  incompatible  with 
the  principle  of  imperial  authority,  such  as  Charlemagne  had 
attempted  to  re-establish  in  the  West.  They  were,  first,  the  legislative 
and,  in  some  cases,  sovereign  power  of  the  national  assemblies  ;  next, 
the  jurisdiction  of  the  nobles  over  their  vassals,  and  the  right  of 
private  war ;  and  lastly,  the  custom  which  shared  the  succession 
among  all  the  sons,  and  which,  in  default  of  sons,  left  the  right  of 
succession  doubtful  between  the  nephews  and  uncles. 

Charlemagne  did  not  make  any  absolute  attack  on  these  three  cus- 
toms, though  they  were  so  incompatible  with  the  monarchical  system 
which  he  attempted  to  introduce.    We  have  seen  that  he  recognized  the 

*  Gruizot,  Histoire  de  la  Civilisation  en  France. 

814-888]  LOUIS   THE    DEBONNAIRE.  103 

legislative  authority  of  the  national  assemblies,  and  that  the  latter, 
which  he  directed  and  converted  into  useful  instruments,  were  regularly- 
convoked  during  his  reign ;  he  did  not  destroy  the  right  of  seignorial 
Jurisdiction,  which  was  a  formidable  right,  and  one  difficult  to  separate 
from  the  right  of  private  war ;  he  was  even  constrained  to  confirm 
the  latter,  by  obliging  the  vassals  or  liegemen  to  follow  their  lord  in 
his  private  quarrels,  under  penalty  of  losing  their  benefices  ;  *  and  he 
could  not  prevent  the  duties  of  the  vassal  toward  his  lord  appearing 
more  sacred  than  those  which  attached  them  both  to  the  State. 
Lastly,  in  the  partition  which  Charlemagne  made  at  Thionville,  of  his 
states  among  his  sons,  we  do  not  find  that  he  dreamed  of  maintaining 
the  unity  of  his  empire  after  his  own  death ;  he  did  not  raise  the 
eldest  above  the  others ;  and,  at  a  later  date,  when  he  shared  his 
authority  with  Louis  the  Debonnaire,  his  two  brothers  were  dead : 
hence,  then,  the  great  question  of  the  supremacy  attaching  to  the 
imperial  title,  and  of  the  degree  of  power  which  the  prince  invested 
with  it  would  have  to  exercise  over  the  kings  of  his  own  family,  was 
not  settled  by  Charlemagne.  Perhaps  he  had  a  foreboding  that  so 
many  nations,  differing  in  language,  origin,  and  customs,  could  not  live 
for  any  length  of  time,  united  under  the  same  hand ;  perhaps,  too,  by 
himself  dividing  his  vast  states  between  his  sons,  he  had  hoped  to 
prevent  disastrous  wars,  and  he  doubtless  believed  that  it  would  be 
better  to  do  by  common  agreement  what  time  and  violence  would  not 
fail  to  do  after  his  death. 

If  such  were  Charlemagne's  previsions,  they  were  speedily  confirmed 
by  the  inutility  of  his  son's  efforts  to  retain  for  any  length  of  time 
the  fiction  of  imperial  unity.  The  situation  was  more  powerful  than 
the  men,  and  the  Carlovingian  Empire  crumbled  away  less  through  the 
weakness  of  Louis  the  Debonnaire  and  his  successors,  than  through  the 
want  of  the  institutions  necessary  for  its  duration,  and,  above  all,  by 
the  impossibility  of  rendering  the  latter  acceptable  to  the  peoples  they 
were  intended  to  govern.     The  dissolution  of  this  empire,  accelerated 

*  Et  si  quis  cum  fidelibus  suis  contra  adversarium  suum  pugnam  ant  aliquod  cutamen 
agere  voluerit,  et  convocavit  aliquem  de  coinparibus  suis  ut  ei  adjutorium  prsebuisset,  et 
e!le  et  exindo  negliques  permansit  :  ipsum  beneficium  quod  babuit  auferatur  ab 
eo,  et  ditur  cui  in  stabilitate  et  fidelitate  su4  permansit.— -Karoli  M.  Capitularc> 
a.  813-820. 


by  so  many  causes,  had  as  its  principal  results  the  complete  separation 
of  the  peoples  of  different  race,  and  the  subdivision  of  each  of  these 
peoples  into  a  multitude  of  small  principalities,  which  had  no  other 
bond  of  union  than  that  which  was  established  by  the  feudal  regime. 

Louis  I.,  surnamed  the  Debonnaire  and  the  Pious,  son  and  successor 
of  Charlemagne,  was  soon  crushed  by  the  burden  which  his  father  had 
left  him.  Unskilful  in  his  conduct,  and  of  weak  character,  but 
animated  by  a  desire  for  justice  and  a  desire  for  the  right,  he  hastened 
to  order  severe  reforms ;  and  ere  he  had  established  his  authority  on  a 
solid  basis,  he  punished  powerful  culprits,  and  tried  to  destroy  a  mul- 
titude of  abuses  by  which  the  nobles  profited.  The  oppressed  nations 
found  in  him  a  just  judge  and  indulgent  master.  He  protected  the 
Aquitains,  the  Saxons,  and  Spanish  Christians  against  the  imperial 
lieutenants,  and  diminished  their  "taxes,  to  the  injury  of  their  governors. 
He  reformed  the  clergy,  by  obliging  the  bishops  to  remain  in  their 
dioceses,  and  subjecting  the  monks  to  the  inquisition  of  the  severe 
Benedict  of  Amacia,  who  imposed  the  Benedictine  rule  upon  them. 
Lastly,  giving  the  example  of  good  manners,  he  tried  to  avenge  morality 
by  disgracefully  expelling  from  the  imperial  palace  his  father's 
numerous  concubines,  and  the  lovers  of  his  sisters.  But  he  could 
not  keep  either  his  court  or  his  warriors  in  obedience,  and  his  weakness 
for  his  wives  and  children  occasioned  long  and  sanguinary  wars. 

In  the  hour  of  danger,  all  those  whose  interests  he  had  violently 
injured  leagued  against  him.  The  first  insurrection  took  place  in 
Italy.  The  Emperor  had  shared  the  empire  with  his  son  Lothair,* 
with  the  assent  of  the  Franks  assembled  at  the  comitia  of  Aix-la- 
Chapelle  in  817  ;  then  he  gave  the  kingdoms  of  Bavaria  and  Aquitaine 
to  his  other  two  sons,  Louis  and  Pepin :  his  nephew  Bernard  remaining 
King  of  Italy.  The  latter,  whose  father  was  the  Emperor's  elder 
brother,  was  jealous  at  the  elevation  of  Lothair,  for  he  hoped,  after  his 
uncle's  death,  to  obtain  the  imperial  crown  as  chief  of  the  Carlovingian 
family.  A  great  number  of  malcontent  lords  and  bishops  invited 
Bernard  to  assert  his  rights,  and  collected  troops.  Louis  marched  to 
meet  his  nephew  at  the  head  of  his  soldiers  of  France  and  Germany. 

*The  second  race  adopted  the  names  of  the  first,  but  the  German  language  was 
beginning  to  lose  its  roughness  in  Graul  :  thus,  the  name  of  Klothair  became  Lothair, 
&c.  &c. 

814-888]  LOUIS    THE    DEBOSNAIRE.  105 

On  his  approach,  Bernard,  who  was  deserted  by  a  portion  of  his  fol- 
lowers, obtained  a  safe  conduct  from  the  Emperor,  and  went  into  his 
camp,  with  several  chiefs  of  his  army.  Louis,  impelled  to  act  with 
unjust  rigour  by  his  consort  Ermengarde,  who  coveted  Italy  for  her 
sons,  had  Bernard's  accomplices  tried  and  executed,  while  the 
unfortunate  King  himself  was  condemned  to  lose  his  sight,  and  did  not 
survive  the  punishment.  A  few  years  later,  the  Emperor,  in  a  national 
assembly  held  at  Attigny,  on  the  Aisin,  did  public  penance  for  this 
crime,  and,  prostrated  at  the  feet  of  the  bishops,  asked  for  absolution. 
From  this  period  he  only  displayed  weakness.  The  frontier  nations 
insulted  the  Empire  with  impunity ;  the  Gascons  and  Saracens  in  the 
south,  the  Bretons  in  the  west,  and  the  Norman  pirates  in  the  north, 
committed  frightful  ravages,  and  spread  terror  around  them.  Internal 
discord  seconded  their  audacity :  the  imperial  troops  were  defeated,  and 
Louis  saw  his  frontiers  contracted  in  the  north  and  south.  In  this  way, 
the  kingdom  of  Navarre  was  founded  at  the  foot  of  the  Pyrenees. 

Ermengarde,  the  wife  of  Louis  the  Debonnaire,  died  in  818,  and 
the  Emperor  espoused  in  the  following  year  Judith,  daughter  of  a 
Bavarian  lord.  He  had  by  her  a  son  called  Charles,  for  whom  his 
mother  asked  a  kingdom  ;  and  Louis  promised  him  one,  although  he 
had  given  everything  away  before.  After  granting  to  Lothair  the 
kingdom  of  Italy,  the  heritage  of  the  unfortunate  Bernard,  he 
obtained  from  that  prince  the  oath  to  defend  his  young  brother  Charles, 
and  maintain  him  in  the  possession  of  the  share  which  might  be 
assigned  him ;  after  which,  the  Emperor,  at  the  Diet  of  Worms,  held 
in  829,  gave  Charles,  the  son  of  Judith,  Suabia,  Helvetia,  and  the 
Grisons,  which  he  formed  into  the  kingdom  of  Germany. 

Lothair  soon  repented  the  pledge  he  had  given  his  father,  and 
sought  a  mode  of  destroying  the  result  of  the  decisions  of  the  Diet. 
He  found  an  opportunity,  in  the  blind  weakness  of  the  Emperor  for  the 
Aquitanian  Bernard,  Duke  of  Septimania,  and  son  of  his  old  guar- 
dian, William  Shortnose.  Duke  Bernard  was  generally  considered  the 
lover  of  Judith  and  father  of  Charles.  Louis  made  him  his  sole  coun- 
cillor and  prime  minister.  The  public  clamour  became  general ;  a 
numerous  party  of  malcontents  was  formed,  principally  composed  of 
nobles  and  bishops,  and  who  were  joined  by  the  Emperor's  three  sons, 
who  were  irritated  at  his  weakness  and  anxious  about  their  possessions. 

106  LOUIS    THE    DEBONNAIKE.  [Book  II.  ChAP.  II. 

The  latter  commenced  an  impious  war  against  their  father.  He  fell 
into  their  power  at  Compiegne.  Judith  was  confined  by  them  in  a 
convent ;  Bernard  took  to  flight,  and  the  Emperor  was  left  under  the 
direction  of  a  few  monks,  while  Lothair  seized  the  government  of  the 

The  peoples  were  divided  between  Louis  and  his  sons ;  the  latter 
were  supported  in  their  revolt  by  the  inhabitants  of  Gaul,  while  the 
Germans  remained  faithful  to  the  Emperor,  who  consulted  a  general 
assembly  of  the  states  for  the  same  year,  at  one  of  their  cities, 
JSTimeguen.  They  pronounced  in  his  favour  and  against  his  sons. 
Lothair  was  reconciled  to  his  father  by  sacrificing  all  his  partizans  to 
him.  Judith  and  Bernard  were  recalled  to  court,  and  purified  them- 
selves by  oath  from  the  crimes  imputed  to  them ;  Louis  began  to 
reign  again,  and  once  more  disgusted  the  nation  by  his  weakness.  His 
sons — Lothair,  Louis,  and  Pepin — revolted  once  again,  took  up  arms, 
and  marched  against  their  father.  Pope  Gregory  IV.  was  with  them, 
and  tried  in  vain  to  prevent  bloodshed.  The  two  armies  encountered 
near  Colmar ;  all  at  once  the  Emperor's  troop  sdeserfced  him.  The 
which  this  defection  took  place  received  the  name  of  the  Plain  of 
plain  on  Falsehood.  Th  eunfortunate  King  fell  into  the  hands  of  his 
son  Lothair,  who  carried  his  impiety  so  far  as  to  make  him  undergo 
an  infamous  punishment  under  the  cloak  of  a  Christian  and  voluntary 
humiliation,  in  order  to  degrade  him  for  ever.  A  council  of  bishops 
devoted  to  Lothair  was  assembled  for  this  purpose  at  Compiegne  and 
presided  over  by  Ebbon,  Archbishop  of  Reims,  a  furious  enemy  of 
Louis.  A  list  of  crimes  was  drawn  up,  among  which  figured  that  of 
having  ordered  the  army  to  march  during  Lent,  and  convoking  the 
Parliament  on  a  Good  Friday.  The  captive  Emperor  was  forced  to 
make  a  public  confession.  He  appeared  in  the  cathedral,  pale  and 
bowed  down  by  shame  and  sorrow.  He  tottered  along  through  a  multi- 
tude of  spectators,  and  in  the  presence  of  Lothair,  who  had  come  to 
enjoy  the  humiliation  of  his  father  and  his  Emperor.  A  hair  cloth  was 
laid  at  the  foot  of  the  altar ;  the  archbishop  ordered  the  sovereign  to 
take  off  his  imperial  ornaments,  belt,  and  sword,  and  prostrate  himself 
on  the  cloth.  Louis  obeyed  :  with  his  face  against  the  ground  he 
demanded  a  public  penance,  and  read  aloud  a  document  in  which  he 
accused  himself  of  sacrilege  and  homicide.   A  proces-verbal  was  drawn 

814-888]  LOUTS    THE    DEBONNAIRE.  107 

up  of  this  criminal  scene,  and  Lothair  conducted  his  father  as  a  pri- 
soner to  Aix-la-Chapelle,  the  seat  of  the  Empire,  a  place  which  had 
formerly  witnessed  his  grandeur  and  now  his  ignominy. 

Louis  the  German  and  Pepin  declared  themselves  the  avengers  of 
their  outraged  father,  far  less  through  affection  for  him  than  through 
jealous  hatred  of  their  brother ;  the  latter,  deserted  by  his  partizans, 
took  refuge  in  Italy,  while  the  Emperor,  with  the  assent  of  the  states 
assembled  at  Thionville,  resumed  his  crown.  He  pardoned  Lothair, 
but  in  838,  at  the  states  of  Kersy-on-the-Oise,  he  for  a  second  time 
benefited  his  son  Charles  at  the  expense  of  his  elder  brother,  and  Louis 
the  German  consented  to  cede  a  portion  of  his  provinces  to  his 

Pepin,  King  of  Aquitaine,  died  in  the  course  of  the  year ;  he  left  a 
son  of  the  same  name,  dear  to  the  Aquitains,  who  had  seen  him  attain 
man's  estate  among  them,  and  who  eagerly  recognized  him  as  king. 
This  people  always  endured  with  impatience  a  foreign  rule.  It  nou- 
rished the  hope  of  forming  an  independent  and  separate  nation,  and 
hoped  to  induce  Pepin  II.  to  revolt  against  the  Emperor,  as  his  father, 
Pepin  I.,  had  on  several  occasions  been  persuaded  to  do. 

The  Emperor,  however,  had  other  projects ;  he  secretly  reserved 
Aquitaine  for  his  son  Charles.  On  his  side,  Louis  regretted  the  conces- 
sion which  he  had  made  at  Kersy  of  the  great  portion  of  his  states  to 
his  brother,  and  had  taken  up  arms  again ;  the  Germans  had  followed 
his  banner  to  the  right  bank  of  the  Rhine ;  but  the  armies  of  Gaul, 
composed  of  a  mixture  of  men  of  the  Gallic  and  German  races  estab- 
lished for  a  long  time  in  that  country,  and  to  whom  we  may  henceforth 
give  the  name  of  French,  had  remained  faithful  to  the  Emperor.  He 
crossed  the  Rhine  at  their  head.  On  his  approach  the  Germanic  army 
disbanded  without  striking  a  blow :  his  son  Louis  retired  into  Bavaria. 
The  Emperor  punished  him  by  reducing  his  inheritance  to  that  soli- 
tary province. 

The  moment  had  arrived  to  secure  Charles  the  share  which  his  affec- 
tion had  always  desired  for  him  at  the  expense  of  his  brothers.  He 
resolved  to  divide  the  Empire,  exclusive  of  Bavaria,  into  two  parts  of 
equal  size,  destined  for  Lothair  and  Charles,  and  decided  that  one  of 
these  princes  should  make  this  division,  and  the  other  have  the  choice. 
This  new  partition  was  to  be  sanctioned  and  proclaimed  in  a  Diet  con- 

108  LOUIS    THE    DEBON^TAIEE.  [Book  II.  Chap.  II. 

voked  at  Worms  in  the  month  of  May,  839.  Lothair  proceeded  thither. 
In  the  presence  of  the  assembled  nobles,  he  threw  himself  at  his 
father's  feet  and  asked  his  pardon  for  the  annoyance  he  had  caused  him. 
Then,  having  left  to  his  father  the  task  of  dividing  his  Empire,  the 
Emperor  effected  the  partition  by  aline  which,  starting  from  the  mouths 
of  the  Scheldt,  ran  along  the  Meuse  up  to  its  source,  and  the  Saone  as 
far  as  its  confluence  with  the  Rhone,  and  terminated  at  the  mouth  of 
the  latter  river.  The  choice  was  left  to  Lothair,  who  took  the  eastern 
moiety  of  the  Empire,  comprising  Italy,  Germany,  less  Bavaria,  Pro- 
vence, and  a  small  part  of  Burgundy  and  Austrasia ;  Charles  had  for 
his  share  Aquitaine,  Neustria,  and  the  rest  of  Austrasia  and  Burgundy. 
The  claims  of  their  brother  Louis  were  entirely  passed  over  in  this 
partition,  and  Pepin  II.,  the  Emperor's  grandson,  was  despoiled.  These 
two  princes  took  up  arms,  and  the  Emperor,  who  was  already  ad- 
vancing upon  Aquitaine,  stopped  in  indecision,  not  knowing  which  foe 
to  fight  first,  his  grandson  or  his  son.  At  length,  on  seeing  the 
Bavarians,  Thuringians,  and  Saxons,  in  insurrection  on  behalf  of  Louis, 
the  old  Emperor  turned  his  army  against  him ;  and  he  marched  into 
Germany  to  encounter  his  son,  who  had  rebelled  for  the  third  time, 
when  he  was  attacked  by  an  illness,  which  brought  him  to  the  grave 
at  the  end  of  forty  days.  "Alas  !  "  he  said,  while  expiring,  "I  pardon 
my  son ;  but  let  him  remember  that  he  caused  my  death,  and  that  God 
punishes  parricides."  He  died  at  Ingelheim,  at  the  age  of  sixty-two. 
Louis  the  Debonnaire  was  not  born  for  the  throne ;  still,  he  had 
some  of  the  qualities  of  a  good  prince.  His  morals  were  firm ;  he  paid 
great  attention  to  the  administration  of  justice  and  the  instruction  of 
his  people,  made  useful  regulations,  and  frequently  consulted  the 
comitia  of  the  Empire ;  but  he  possessed  neither  strength  nor  dignity, 
without  which  the  supreme  authority  is  but  a  vain  word.  His  impru- 
dent weakness  for  Charles,  the  son  of  his  old  age,  occasioned  wars 
which  were  only  extinguished  with  his  race.  In  order  to  ensure  him  a 
vast  empire,  he  embroiled  all  the  frontiers  of  his  states ;  and  this  par- 
tition accelerated  the  outbreak  of  frightful  calamities. 

814-888]  DEATH   OF   LOUIS    TO   THAT    OF   CHARLES    THE    FAT.  109 




After  the  death,  of  Louis  the  Debonnaire,  the  Empire  was  plunged 
for  ten  years  into  a  horrible  anarchy.  His  three  sons  and  his  grand- 
son, Pepin  II.,  levied  troops  and  carried  on  an  obstinate  war  against 
each  other.  The  Emperor  Lothair  united  with  his  nephew  Pepin  to 
despoil  his  two  brothers — Louis,  who  was  called  the  German,  and 
Charles  II.,  who  from  this  period  was  surnamed  the  'Bald.  The  former 
only  possessed  Bavaria;  the  second  w&s  master  of  the  whole  of 
Germany.  The  deplorable  situation  of  the  Empire,  thus  parcelled  out 
by  different  masters  and  torn  by  their  hands,  has  been  eloquently 
described  by  a  contemporary  poet : — "  Who  could  worthily  describe," 
he  says,  "the  asylums  of  religious  life  overthrown,  the  holy  spouses  of 
the  Lord  surrendered  to  the  infamy  of  the  secular  yoke,  the  very 
chiefs  of  the  Church  exposed  to  the  perils  of  arms  and  carnage  ? 
....  Once  on  a  time  flourished  a  noble  empire,  with  a  dazzling 
diadem ;  it  had  but  one  prince,  and  a  great  people  was  subject  to  him. 

Now  the  proud  edifice  has  fallen  from  its  height,  as  crown  of 

flowers  falls  from  the  brow  which  it  decorated.  .....    The  unity  of 

the  empire  has  perished  in  a  triple  partition ;  no  one  is  longer  con- 
sidered as  emperor ;  in  lieu  of  a  king  there  is  only  a  weak  prince ; 
instead  of  a  kingdom  the  fragments  of  a  kingdom.  The  wall  is 
threatened  with  an  immense  and  sudden  ruin ;  it  is  already  cracked 
and  bulging,  and  scarce  supported  by  a  liquid  mud  which  is  about  to 
fall,  and  the  overthrow  is  universal."  * 

The  combined  armies  of  the  two  kings,  Louis  and  Charles,  encoun- 
tered those  of  the  Emperor  Lothair  and  his  nephew  Pepin  near 
Auxerre,  and  fought  a  sanguinary  engagement  in  the  Plains  of 
Fontenay ;  it  is  said  that  one  hundred  thousand  men  perished  on  this 
day.  Lothair  was  conquered,  and  the  two  victorious  princes,  who 
were  themselves  weaker  than  they  had  been  before  the  victory,  could 
not  pursue  him.  They  proceeded  to  Strasburg,  where  they  resumed 
their  alliance  in  the  presence  of  the  people.    The  oath  which  Louis  the 

*  Flori  cTeaoni  Lugdunensis  Guertia  de  divisione  imperii  post  mortem  Ludov.  Pii. 


German  pronounced  on  this  occasion  in  such  a  way  as  to  be  understood 
by  his  brother's  Neustrian  and  Gallo-Roman  army,  is  the  oldest 
memorial  history  has  preserved  for  us  of  the  Romanic  language.* 

A  new  partition  was  made  soon  after  at  Verdun  between  the  three 
brothers,  and  irrevocably  separated  the  interests  of  Gaul  as  a  power 
from  those  of  Germany.  Charles  had  the  countries  situated  to  the 
west  of  the  Scheldt,  Saone,  and  Rhone,  with  the  north  of  Spain  up 
to  the  Ebro.  Louis  the  German  had  Germany  up  to  the  Rhine. 
The  Emperor  Lothair,  renouncing  all  supremacy,  connected  to  Italy  the 
territory  situated  between  his  brother's  states.  The  long  strip  of 
land,  which  comprised  four  populations,  and  in  which  four  different 
languages  were  spoken,  formed  an  entirely  factitious  division,  of  such 
a  nature  that  it  could  not  be  perpetuated.  The  two  other  divisions  were 
more  durable,  and  henceforth  the  denomination  of  France  was  employed 
to  designate  the  kingdom  of  Charles,  in  which  Neustria,  Brittany,  and 
Aquitaine  were  comprised. 

So  many  commotions  and  combats  completely  exhausted  the 
kingdoms  formed  out  of  the  debris  of  the  empire.  The  little  amount 
of  strength  left  to  them  was  consumed  by  these  intestine  wars,  the 
frontiers  were  abandoned  to  foreigners,  the  land  remained  uncultivated, 
famine  destroyed  entire  populations,  and  the  ancient  barbarism  re- 
appeared. The  Normans,  united  to  the  Bretons,  in  the  north  and  west, 
the  Saracens  in  the  south,  laid  waste  everything  with  fire  and  sword ; 
bands  of  wolves  came  after  them  down  the  mountains  and  even 
entered  the  towns.  Rouen,  Bordeaux,  and  Nantes  were  burnt ;  the 
Normans  reached  Paris  on  board  three  hundred  galleys ;  and  while 
terror  kept  Charles  shut  up  at  Saint  Denis,  they  plundered  the  capital, 
and  only  left  it  to  reappear  there  soon  after  more  numerous  aud  formid- 
able. These  men  of  the  north,  called  Danes  in  England,  and  Normans 
in  Gaul,  had  remained  pagans,  and  were  still  proud,  even  in  the  ninth 
century,  of  their  title  as  sons  of  Odin.  Their  natural  ferocity  was 
kept  up  and  incessantly  excited  by  a  continual  life  of  brigandage. 
A  law  of  the  country,  which  was  maintained  wherever  this  people 
founded  establishments,  tended  to  perpetuate  on  the  coasts  of 
Denmark  and  Norway  the  existence  of  this  race  of  pirates.    It  was  one 

*  This  language  is  composed  of  a  corrupt  Latin,  mixed  up  with  the  idiom  of  some  of 
the  peoples  of  Frank  Gaul. 

814-838]  DEATH     OF    LOUIS    TO    THAT    OF    CHARLES    THE    FAT.  Ill 

of  the  principal  causes  of  the  frightful  evils  which  they  inflicted  from 
the  ninth  to  the  eleventh  century  on  European  nations  ;  and  to  it 
must  be  referred  the  first  origin  of  the  empires  which  these  peoples 
founded.  This  law,  which  is  still  in  force  in  England,  gave  to  the 
eldest  son  alone  in  Denmark  and  Norway  the  patrimony  of  the  family. 
It  affected  the  families  of  the  kings  as  well  as  those  of  the  subjects. 
The  eldest  son  of  the  chief  or  king  alone  inherited  his  father's  sceptre 
and  estates.  His  brothers,  though  recognized  as  kings  by  the  customs 
of  the  northern  nations,  had  the  ocean  as  their  kingdom,  on  which  they 
sought  their  fortune  :  hence  the  name  of  sea-Mngs,  which  was  given  to 
them,  and  which  collected  under  their  banner  a  multitude  of  men, 
who,  like  themselves,  had  no  other  patrimony  beyond  their  sword. 
One  of  these  chiefs,  who  was  famous  for  his  audacity  and  ferocity, 
the  pirate  Hastings,  after  ravaging  France,  penetrated  into  Italy,  and 
returned  to  spread  desolation  and  terror  on  the  whole  country  between 
the  Seine  and  the  Loire.  Charles  the  Bald  had  intrusted  the  defence 
of  this  territory,  with  the  title  of  Count  of  Anjou,  to  a  celebrated 
warrior,  Robert  the  Strong,  who  was  already  Count  of  Paris*  and 
the  glorious  founder  of  the  Capitian  dynasty.*  Robert,  whom  the 
chronicles  of  the  time  called  the  Maccabaeus  of  France,  was  killed,  and 
nothing  arrested  the  devastating  torrent  from  that  moment. 

In  the  midst  of  the  general  weakening  of  the  Empire,  the  clergy 
alone  increased  their  fortune  and  power.  The  more  miserable  the 
people  were,  the  more  they  directed  their  thoughts  to  another  future, 
and  respected  the  men  in  whom  they  recognized  the  power  of  opening 
the  gates  of  a  better  world  for  them.  The  real  master  of  Graul  was 
Hincmar,  Archbishop  of  Reims.  He  it  was  who  defended  with  the 
greatest  success  the  authority  of  Charles  the  Bald,  against  those 
who  jareferred  to  him  his  brother,  Louis  the  Grerman.  The 
bishops  supported  the  kings  they  had  crowned ;  they  governed 
temporal  and   spiritual  affairs,  war  and  peace  ;  it  was  Hincmar  who 

*  After  long  researches,  intended  to  trace  this  family  back  to  Childebrand,  brother  of 
Charles  Martel,  it  is  generally  agreed  that  it  was  of  Saxon  origin,  since  genealogists 
even  wish  to  give  ib  as  founder  the  celebrated  Wittikind.  However  this  may  be,  this 
family,  established  in  the  centre  of  Graul,  speedily  acquired  a  great  influence  there,  and 
was  invested  in  succession  with  the  counties  of  Paris  a^d  Orleans,  the  county  of  Anjou, 
the  duchy  of  France,  and  several  other  great  fiefs.  The  name  of  Capitians  was  not 
given  to  its  members  till  after  Hugues  Capet. 

112       DEATH   OF   LOUIS   TO    THAT   OP   CHARLES   THE    FAT.         [BOOK  II.  Ch.  II. 

convoked,  in  the  king's  name,  the  bishops  and  counts  to  march  against 
the  enemy. 

The  Emperor  Lothair  I.  had  died  in  a  monastery  in  855,  after 
sharing  the  Empire  for  the  last  ten  years  with  his  son,  Louis  II.,  sur- 
named  the  Young,  and  giving  kingdoms  to  his  other  sons,  Provence  to 
Charles,  and  the  country  contained  between  the  Meuse,  Scheldt,  Rhine, 
and  Franche  Comte  to  Lothair  II.  It  was  called,  after  the  name  of 
its  sovereign,  Lotharingia,  whence  we  have  the  name  of  Lorraine, 
which  has  adhered  to  it.  The  decrees  of  the  councils  touching  the  two 
marriages  of  Lothair  II.  occupied  the  whole  of  Christendom  during 
fifteen  years.  Separated  by  mutual  agreement  from  his  wife,  Tentberga, 
and  forced  to  take  her  back  by  Pope  Adrian  II.,  Lothair  went  to  Rome 
in  order  to  justify  himself.  The  Pontiff  called  down  the  vengeance 
of  Heaven  on  him  if  he  did  not  amend  his  ways.  He  died  within  a 
week,  and  the  whole  of  his  suite  in  the  year.  .  His  three  sons 
survived  him  but  a  short  time ;  and  Louis  the  Grerman  and  Charles  the 
Bald  divided  their  estates  between  them. 

Oil  the  death  of  the  Emperor  Louis  II.,  which  event  took  place  in 
875,  his  uncle  Charles  the  Bald  seized  the  imperial  crown ;  but  this 
crown,  reduced  to  a  part  of  Southern  Germany  and  Italy,  was,  on  his 
brow,  but  the  shadow  of  that  worn  by  Charlemagne.  The  Empire  was 
exhausted ;  the  perpetual  wars  of  Charlemagne,  the  incessantly  renewed 
quarrels  of  his  grandsons,  had  decimated  the  martial  population  during 
several  generations.  In  the  midst  of  the  constantly  increasing  anarchy, 
the  freemen,  preferring  security  to  an  independence  full  of  perils, 
made  themselves  the  vassals  of  powerful  men  capable  of  defending 
them ;  and  so  early  as  847,  the  weak  Charles  the  Bald  allowed  the 
edict  to  be  drawn  from  him,  known  as  the  Edict  of  Mersen,  to  the 
effect  that  every  freeman  can  choose  a  lord,  either  the  king  or  one  of 
his  vassals,  and  that  none  of  them  would  be  bound  to  follow  the  king 
to  war  except  against  foreigners.  The  king  thus  remained  powerless 
and  disarmed  in  civil  wars. 

Thirty  years  later,  the  nobles  completed  the  ruin  of  imperial  and 
royal  authority  by  obtaining  at  Kersy  from  the  same  King,  then 
Emperor,  the  celebrated  decree  which  rendered  it  legal  to  inherit 
benefices  and  offices.  For  a  long  time  past,  the  rights  of  property 
in  the   soil  had    been  confounded  with  the  rights  of  administration 

814-888.]       DEATH  OF  LOUIS  TO  THAT  OF  CHARLES  THE  FAT.      113 

and  jurisdiction  possessed  by  the  counts  or  officers  of  the  Emperor. 
The  counts,  taking  advantage  of  the  general  anarchy  as  well  as  of  the 
ignorance  and  sloth  of  the  sovereigns  of  the  first  and  second  races,  had 
in  the  first  place  contrived  to  render  their  offices  irrevocable,  after 
the  example  of  holders  of  benefices;  then  they  transmitted  them  to 
their  sons.  But  no  law  sanctioned  this  right  of  inheritance.  Charles 
the  Bald,  by  legalizing  it,  dealt  the  last  blow  to  the  authority  of  the 
sovereigns.  This  act  of  his  reign  has  been  bitterly  reproved  by  most 
historians,  but  in  accomplishing  it,  it  is  certain  that  he  only  yielded 
to  circumstances,  and  involuntarily  consummated  a  sacrifice  which  his 
situation  imposed  on  him.  Henceforth,  it  was  not  the  king  who  chose 
the  counts,  but  the  counts  disposed  of  the  throne.  The  dismember- 
ment of  the  Empire  was  rapidly  effected,  and  a  new  order  of  things, 
the  feudal  system,  was  the  consequence  of  this  edict — the  last 
mportant  act  of  the  reign  of  Charles  the  Bald,  who  died  in  the 
same  year  (877)  at  a  village  on  Mount  Cenis. 

The  last  descendants  of  Charlemagne  nearly  all  proved  themselves, 
in  weakness  and  nullity,  the  rivals  of  the  last  Merovingians.  Louis  II., 
called  the  Stammerer,*  and  successor  of  Charles  the  Bald  in  Italy 
and  Gaul,  lost  in  turn,  through  revolts,  Italy,  Brittany,  Lorraine,  and 
Gascony.  He  recognized  the  fact  that  he  only  owed  his  title  to  the 
election  of  the  lords,  bishops,  and  peoples.  He  allowed  the  nobles 
to  fortify  their  mansions  ;  and  during  his  two  years'  reign,  Pope 
John  VIII.,  expelled  from  Italy,  came  into  France,  and  governed 
the  kingdom. 

Louis  the  Stammerer  left  three  sons,  Louis,  Carloman,  and  Charles. 
The  first  two  were  recognized  as  kings  in  879  ;  the  elder,  Louis  III., 
reigned  over  the  north  of  France,  and  Carloman  over  the  south. 
These  two  princes  lived  on  good  terms  ;  but  during  their  reign  the 
Normans  committed  frightful  ravages.  At  the  same  period,  Duke 
Boson,  brother-in-law  of  Charles  the  Bald,  seized  on  Provence,  which 
was  also  called  Cis-peran  Burgundy,  of  which  country  he  was  pro- 
claimed king  by  an  assembly  of  bishops. 

Louis  and  Carloman  both  died  very  young,  the  first  in  882,  in  an 
expedition  against  the  Normans  ;  the  second  in   884,  while  hunting. 

*  This  Louis  II.,  King  of  France  and  son  of  Charles  the  Bald,  must  not  he  confounded 
with  the  Emperor  Louis  II.,  called  the  Young,  and  son  of  Lothair. 







114      DEATH    OP   LOUIS   TO    THAT   OF   CHARLES   THE    FAT.      [Book  II.  Chap.  II. 

Neither  left  any  male  descent,  but  they  had  a  younger  brother  of  the 
name  of  Charles,  a  posthumous  son  of  Louis  the  Stammerer,  and  issue 
of  a  second  marriage.  The  crown  devolved,  by  hereditary  right,  on 
this  boy,  who  was  only  five  years  of  age  at  the  death  of  his  brother. 
His  youth  caused  him  to  be  excluded  from  the  throne  by  the  nobles, 
who  elected  in  his  stead  as  king  the  Emperor  Charles  the  Fat,  son  of 
Louis  the  German.  This  prince,  by  the  death  of  his  two  brothers, 
and  the  three  sons  of  Lothair,  his  cousins,  had  inherited  Germany  and 
Italy :  he  joined  Gaul  to  them,  and  the  Empire  of  Charlemagne  was 
momentarily  re-established  in  his  hand.  But  the  hand  was  an  unworthy 
one.  Charles  the  Fat  was  only  nominally  emperor  and  king  ;  and  is 
only  known  by  the  lustre  shed  by  the  crown  of  Charlemagne,  imbe- 
cility, cowardice,  and  misfortunes.  The  Normans  braved  him,  and 
carried  on  their  daring  inroads  under  his  eyes.  Paris  sustained  a 
memorable  siege  against  them,  in  which  Eudes,  Count  of  Paris,  and 
Robert  distinguished  themselves;  both  sons  of  the  famous  Robert 
the  Strong,  killed  twenty  years  previously,  while  fighting  the  same 
enemies.  Their  valour  and  the  heroic  efforts  of  Goslin,  Bishop  of 
Paris,  ensured  the  safety  of  the  city,  while  Charles  the  Fat,  at  the 
head  of  an  army  assembled  to  save  his  people,  made  a  cowardly  com- 
position with  the  foreigners,  and  allowed  them  to  pillage  his  richest 
provinces.  A  cry  of  indignation  was  raised  against  him  on  all  sides. 
He  was  deposed  at  the  Diet  of  Tribur  in  888,  and  died  the  same  year 
in  indigence,  deserted  by  all  his  friends. # 

*  Historians  have  not  counted  the  Emperor  Charles  the  Fat  in  the  list  of  sovereigns 
of  the  name  of  Charles  who  reigned  in  Graul,  because  they  have  regarded  his  reign  as  a 
usurpation.  In  their  eyes  the  legitimate  king  was  young  Charles,  son  of  Louis  the 
Stammerer,  who  was  elected  at  a  later  date. 

888-987]  GATJL  DIVIDED.  115 







The  definitive  partition,  which  irrevocably  completed  the  dismember- 
ment of  the  Empire,  took  place  on  the  death  of  Charles  the  Fat. 
Italy  became  a  separate  kingdom  :  all  the  country  comprised  between 
the  Fancelles  Mountains  (a  transverse  chain  of  the  Vosges),  the  sources 
of  the  Rhine,  and  the  Pennine  Alps,  formed,  under  the  name  of  Upper 
or  Trans-peran  Burgundy,  a  new  kingdom,  of  which  Rodolph  Wolf 
was  the  founder.  Prior  to  this,  Boson,  brother-in-law  of  Charles  the 
Bald,  had  assumed  the  title  of  King  of  Provence,  or  Cis-peran  Bur- 
gundy. This  kingdom  has  as  its  limits  the  Jura,  the  Alps,  the 
Mediterranean,  the  Saone,  and  the  Cevennes.*  Lotharingia,  or  Lor- 
raine, was  restricted  between  the  Fancelles  Mountains,  the  Scheldt,  the 
Rhine,  and  the  German  Ocean.     Aquitainef  extended  to  the  Pyrenees, 

*  The  kingdoms  of  Trans-peran  and  Cis-peran  Burgundy  were  entirely  distinct  from 
the  part  of  old  Burgundy  situated  between  the  Saone  and  the  Loire,  and  which  received 
and  retained  the  name  of  Duchy  of  Burgundy.  In  933  these  two  kingdoms  were 
formed  into  one,  which  took  the  name  of  the  Kingdom  of  Aries. 

+  Carloman,  son  of  Louis  the  Stammerer,  was  the  last  of  the  Carlovingians  who  bore 
the  title  of  King  of  Aquitaine.  This  vast  state  ceased  from  this  time  to  constitute  a 
kingdom.  It  had  for  a  lengthened  period  "been  divided  between  powerful  families,  tLe 
most  illustrious  of  which  are  those  of  the  Counts  of  Toulouse,- founded  in  the  ninth 
century  by  Fredelon,  the  Counts  of  Poitiers,  the  Counts  of  Auvergne,  the  Marquises  of 
Septimania  or  Gothia,  and  the  Dukes  of  Gascony.     King  Eudes  had  given  William  the 

I   2 

116  GAUL    DIVIDED.  [BOOK  II.  Chap.  III. 

and  the  greater  part  of  the  territory  enclosed  between  these  divers 
states  and  Brittany  henceforth  retained  the  name  of  France.  Abont 
the  same  period,  the  Counts  of  Vermandois  extended  their  power  to 
the  north,  while  the  powerful  houses  of  Poitiers]  and  Toulouse  sprang 
up  in  Aquitaine,  and  opposed  a  barrier  to  the  incursions  of  the 
Saracens.  From  this  last  dismemberment  of  the  Empire  of  the 
Franks  dates  the  historic  existence  of  the  French  nation.  On  the 
deposition  of  Charles  the  Fat,  young  Charles,  third  son  of  Louis 
the  Stammerer,  was  only  eight  years  old :  his  age  was  a  second  time 
the  cause  of  his  exclusion,  and  the  nobles,  alarmed  by  a  new  invasion 
of  the  Normans,  preferred  to  him  Budes,  Count  of  Paris,  son  of 
Hobert  the  Strong  ;  not  through  any  desire  to  desert  the  cause  of 
France,  a  contemporary  historian  tells  us,  but  through  impatience  to 
march  against  the  enemy.  Eudes  was  already  celebrated  by  his 
defence  of  Paris  against  the  Normans :  he  was  elected  king  in  888. 

With  the  reign  of  Eudes  commenced  a  long  series  of  civil  wars, 
which  was  terminated  at  the  end  of  a  century  by  the  definitive  exclu- 
sion of  the  Carlovingian  race.  This  prince  always  had  arms  in  hand, 
either  against  the  lords  of  Aquitaine,  who  tried  to  render  themselves 
independent,  or  against  Charles,  his  youthful  rival,  who  was  supported 
by  Arnolph,  King  of  Germany.  Eudes  eventually  ceded  to  him 
several  provinces,  and  he  was  about  to  recognize  him  as  his  successor 
when  he  died  in  898.  Charles  III.  was  then  proclaimed  King  of 
France,  and  is  known  by  the  souhriqiiet  of  Charles  the  Simple  ;*  and 
history,  which  is  silent  as  to  the  majority  of  events  in  his  reign  of 
twenty-five  years,  has  handed  down  to  us,  with  his  surname,  the 
recollection  of  his  incapacity.  The  most  celebrated  act  of  his  life 
was  the  cession  made  by  Charles  in  912  of  the  territory  afterwards 
called  Normandy,  to  a  formidable  Norman  chief,  who  had  been  dis- 
inherited by  his  father,  and  banished  from  Norway,  his  native  land. 

Pious,  Count  of  Auvergne,  the  investiture  of  the  duchy  of  Aquitaine.  On  the  extinction 
'  of  that  family  in  928,  the  Counts  of  Toulouse  and  those  of  Poitou  disputed  the  preroga- 
\aispes,  and  their  quarrel  stained  the  south  with  blood  for  a  long  time.     At  length  the 

Counts  of  Poitou   acquired  the  title  of  Dukes  of  Aquitaine  or  Guyenne,  which  remained 

in  their  house  up  to  the  marriage  of   Eleanor  of  Aquitaine  with  Henry  Plantagenet  I. 

King  of  England  (1151). 

*  The  Carlovingian  kings  of  the   name  of    Charles  come  in  the  following  order  : — 

Charles  I.,  or  Charlemagne;  Charles  II.,   or  the  Bald,  son  of  Louis  the  Debonnaire  ; 

Charles  III.,  or  the  Simple,  posthumous  son  of  Louis  the  Stammerer. 

88S-987J  GAUL   DIVIDED.  117 

This  chief,  who  had  previously  desolated  Gaul  by  perpetual  invasions, 
is  celebrated  in  history  by  the  name  of  Rollo,  and  was  the  first  Duke 
of  Normandy.  He  paid  homage  to  the  King,  was  converted  fco  Chris- 
tianity, and  divided  his  vast  territory  into  fiefs.  His  warriors,  whom 
he  kept  down  by  severe  laws,  became  the  fathers  of  a  great  people 
which  was  the  firmest  bulwark  of  France  against  the  invasions  of  the 
northern  races. 

Numerous  revolts  troubled  the  end  of  this  reign.  For  sixty  years 
the  French  were  divided  between  two  families  of  sovereigns,  that  of 
Charlemagne  and  that  of  King  Eudes.  The  nobles  reproached 
Charles  with  giving  all  his  favour  to  his  minister  Haganon,  whom  he 
had  raised  from  an  obscure  rank  to  place  him  over  them,  and  who  at 
times  carried  his  familiarity  so  far  as  to  take  off  the  King's  hat  and 
place  it  on  his  own  head.  The  chief  of  the  malcontents  was  the 
brother  of  King  Eudes,  Robert,  Duke  of  France,*  who  repented  thai 
he  had  not  disputed  the  succession  to  his  brother  with  Charles  the 
Simple.  This  Duke  formed  a  league  against  Haganon :  then  he  told 
the  King  that  he  would  not  suffer  an  unworthy  favourite  to  be  pre- 
ferred to  the  nobles  of  the  kingdom,  and  that,  unless  Charles  sent 
him  back  to  his  original  position,  he  would  hang  him  without  mercy. 
The  King  despised  this  menace.  Robert  then  decreed  his  deposition 
with  the  nobles  of  the  land,  and  assured  himself  of  the  adherence  of 
the  King  of  Germany,  Henry  the  Fowler :  he  then  entered  Soissons 
with  a  band  of  conspirators,  penetrated  to  the  prince's  apartments, 
and  made  him  a  prisoner.  On  hearing  of  this,  Herve,  Archbishop  of 
Reims,  faithful  to  the  cause  of  Charles,  armed  his  vassals,  entered 
Soissons  at  their  head,  broke  open  the  palace  gates,  reached  the  King, 
dispersed  his  guardians,  and,  taking  the  hand  of  the  unfortunate 
prince,  said  to  him,  "  Come,  my  king,  and  command  thy  servants," 
He  took  him  away  at  once,  and  conducted  him  to  Reims.  Charles 
the  Simple,  thus  delivered  by  the  Archbishop,  retired  to  the  heart  of 
Belgian  Gaul,-}-  the  cradle  of  his  family,  and  took  up  his  residence  in 

*  This  duchy,  which,  it  is  said,  was  conceded  in  861  to  Robert  the  Strong  by  Charles 
the  Bald,  comprised,  in  addition  to  the  counties  of  Paris  and  Orleans,  the  Gfallicois,  the 
Chartrans,  the  Blaisois,  Perche,  Anjou,  Touraine,  Maine,  and  Beauvoisis. 

•f  This  was  the  name  given  in  the  tenth  century  to  the  greater  portion  of  the  kiDgdora 
of  Lorraine. 

.118  GAUL    DIVIDED.  [BOOK  II.  CHAP.  III. 

the  city  of  Tongres.  But  his  reign  was  at  an  end :  his  deposition  was 
pronounced  by  the  nobles  at  an  assembly  held  at  Soissons  in  920,  and 
Robert  was  elected  king,  and  consecrated  at  the  Church  of  St.  Remi, 
in  Reims  (922).  Charles  called  his  partizans  around  him.  He 
interested  the  Belgians  or  Lorraines  in  his  misfortunes :  he  marched 
at  their  head  to  meet  his  rival,  and  his  army  encountered  that  of 
Robert,  near  the  old  royal  residence  of  Attigny,  in  Champagne. 
Jlere  a  sanguinary  action  was  fought,  in  which  King  Robert  was 
killed,  while  fighting.  Charles  was  flying  when  he  heard  of  Robert's 
death,  but  he  did  not  take  advantage  of  this  circumstance  to  secure 
the  crown  on  his  own  head  ;  and  not  daring  to  trust  to  his  subjects,  he 
returned  with  his  army  to  Lorraine. 

Robert,  Duke  of  France,  was  succeeded  by  his  son,  the  celebrated 
Hugues  the  Great,  or  the  "White,  who  made  kings  and  would  not  be 
one  himself.  This  powerful  lord  had  the  deposition  of  Charles  the 
Simple  confirmed,  and  decreed  the  crown  to  his  brother-in-law,  Raoul, 
or  Rodolph,  Duke  of  Burgundy,  and  father-in-law  of  King  Robert, 
who  accepted  the  crown  against  his  wish.  Charles  the  Simple  was 
then  drawn  into  a  snare  by  Herbert,  Count  of  Vermandois,  who  seized 
him  and  retained  him  a  prisoner  at  Peronne. 

Raoul,  elected  in  923,  reigned  for  eleven  years.  He  had  to  contend 
against  the  Normans,  whom  he  repulsed,  and  against  the  perfidious 
Herbert,  who,  master  of  the  person  of  King  Charles,  wished  to  domi- 
neer over  King  Raoul,  and  placed  no  bounds  on  his  demands.  He 
asked  for  the  county  of  Leon,  and  when  it  was  refused  him,  he  set 
Charles  at  liberty  again.  But  soon  after  he  again  sought  the  favour  of 
Hugues  the  Great,  who  had  crowned  Raoul ;  and  on  becoming  recon- 
ciled with  him  imprisoned  the  unfortunate  Charles  for  the  second  time. 
Raoul,  however,  moved  by  a  feeling  of  equity,  the  chronicler  says,  or 
by  compassion,  went  to  visit  the  captured  king,  and  begged  him  to 
pardon  him.  He  did  not  restore  to  him  the  supreme  authority ;  but  he 
gave  him  back,  with  his  liberty,  the  royal  residences  of  Ponthiou  and 
Attigny.  Charles  the  Simple  languished  for  some  time,  and  died  in 
929,  crushed  by  sorrow  and  illness. 

Raoul  reigned  for  seven  years  longer,  and  the  close  of  his  reign  was 
troubled  by  a  bloody  war,  which  Hugues  the  White,  Duke  of  France, 
waged  against  the  Count  of  Vermandois  and  the  Duke  of  Lorraine. 

888-987]  GAUL    DIVIDED.  119 

The  King  of  France,  suzerain  of  Hugues,  and  lie  of  Germany,  Henry 
the  Fowler,  suzerain  of  the  Duke  of  Lorraine,  were  drawn  into  this 
war,  and  appeared  more  like  allies  of  their  vassals  than  as  sove- 

Germany  and  Gaul  were  a  prey  to  frightful  calamities :  foreign 
invasion  added  its  scourge  to  those  of  intestine  dissensions,  and  the 
Hungarians  ravaged  Germany.  These  ferocious  hordes,  vanquished  in 
933  by  Henry  the  Fowler  in  the  celebrated  battle  of  Merseburg, 
returned  two  years  later,  crossed  Germany,  and  penetrated  into  Bur- 
gundy. King  R-aoul  marched  to  meet  them.  At  the  rumour  of  his 
approach  the  Hungarians  evacuated  Burgundy  and  fell  back  on  Italy. 
Raoul  died  the  following  year.  He  left  no  sons  to  succeed  him  on  the 
throne,  which  no  member  of  his  family  inherited.  His  duchy  of  Bur- 
gundy, the  real  seat  of  his  power,  did  not  pass  in  its  entirety  to  his 
natural  heirs.  Hugues  the  Black,  his  brother,  only  obtained  a  part  of 
it ;  his  brother-in-law,  Hugues  the  Great,  Count  of  Paris,  took  advan- 
tage of  a  civil  war  to  seize  the  larger  portion  of  it.  This  powerful 
noble,  son  of  King  Robert,  nephew  of  King  Eudes,  and  brother-in-law 
of  the  last  King  Baoul,  governed,  as  Duke  of  France,  all  the  countries 
situated  between  Normandy  and  Brittany  in  the  west,  the  Loire  in  the 
south,  and  the  Meuse  in  the  north.  He  owed  the  name  of  Great  rather 
to  the  vast  extent  of  his  states  than  to  his  personal  merit ;  and  he 
surpassed  so  greatly  in  power  all  the  lords  of  Gaul  that  he  only 
required  to  stretch  out  his  hand  to  the  crown  in  order  to  ensure  the 
possession  of  it.  "But,"  writes  the  author  who  appears  to  us  to  have 
judged  the  situation  most  correctly,  "  Hugues  seems  to  have  considered 
the  power  of  an  hereditary  lord  in  his  fief  as  far  more  satisfactory  to 
ambition  than  the  prerogatives  of  an  elective  king  among  independent 
vassals.  He  had  already  extended  considerably  the  inheritance  of  his 
family,  and  intended  to  extend  it  further.  But  he  wished  to  give  all 
his  usurpations  the  sanction  of  the  royal  authority,  and  he  judged 
that  they  would  be  far  more  respected  if  he  placed  between  the  other 
vassals  and  himself  the  name  of  a  legitimate  king,  whose  master  he 
would  be,  than  if  he  ran  the  risk  of  seeing  the  acquisitions  he  had 
made  contested,  as  well  as  his  own  title  to  the  crown.  All  the  nobles 
of  the  south  of  Gaul  and  Aquitaine  had  wished,  in  the  last  wars,  to 


remain  faithful  to  the  blood  of  Charlemagne ;  and  Hugues  calculated 
on  governing  them  in  the  name  of  a  descendant  of  that  Emperor."* 

Hugues  the  Great,  therefore,  thought  of  Louis,  son  of  Charles  the 
Simple.  This  young  prince,  who  was  sixteen  years  of  age,  was  living 
at  the  time  in  England  privately  with  his  mother,  the  sister  of  the 
Anglo-Saxon  King  Athelstane,  and  he  owed  to  this  circumstance  the 
surname  of  Louis  d*  Outre-Mer,  or  from  across  the  sea.  Hugues 
gave  him  the  crown  by  agreement  with  William  Longsword,  second 
Duke  of  Normandy,  and  with  the  lords  of  old  Neustria  and  Aqui- 
taine.  A  solemn  embassy  conveyed  their  wishes  to  the  court  of 
the  King  his  master,  inviting  him  to  come  and  reign  in  France.  Louis 
accepted  the  crown,  and  was  consecrated  at  Reims  in  the  year  936,  at 
the  same  period  when  Otho  the  Great,  of  the  House  of  Saxony,  suc- 
ceeded Henry  the  Fowler,  his  "father,  on  the  imperial  throne  of 



The  royal  domain  was  at  this  period  limited  to  the  county  of  Laon. 
■  There  alone  Louis  TV.  reigned  de  facto  as  well  as  nominally ;  every- 
where else  in  Gaul  the  dukes  and  counts  were  more  sovereign  than 
the  king.  Hugues  the  Great,  while  doing  him  homage,  did  not  intend 
to  free  him  from  his  guardianship.  The  young  monarch  himself 
claimed  his  independence  :  he  had  the  soul  of  a  king,  if  he  had  not  the 
power ;  and  his  reign  was  a  stormy  and  perpetual  struggle. 

A  formidable  invasion  of  the  Hungarians  marked  its  opening.  A 
numerous  horde  of  this  savage  people  passed  through  the  kingdom 
and  back  again  like  a  devastating  torrent ;  and  this  scourge  suspended 
for  a  time  the  rupture  on  the  point  of  breaking  out  between  Louis  and 
his  powerful  vassal.  Hugues,  upon  seeing  the  King  escape  from  his 
influence,  made  a  close  league  with  several  lords  of  northern  Gaul,  and 
more  especially  with  William,  Duke  of  the  Normans,  Arnolph,  Count 

*  Sismondi,  Histoire  des  Frangaisy  Part  ii.  Cap.  iv. 

888-987]  GAUL   UNDER   THE    LAST    CARLO  VINGIANS.  121 

of  Flanders,  and  the  same  Herbert,  Count  of  Yermandois,  who  had 
for  so  long  a  period  kept  Charles  the  Simple  prisoner. 

The  Lorrainers,  at  this  period,  had  revolted  against  the  Emperor 
Otho  the  Great,  King  of  Germany,  their  suzerain,  and  transferred 
their  homage  to  Lonis  d'Outre-Mer,  who  accepted  it.  A  war  broke  out 
between  the  two  kings ;  and  in  this  struggle  the  confederate  nobles, 
vassals  of  Louis,  allied  themselves  against  him  with  the  King  of 
Germany,  whom  they  proclaimed  King  of  the  Gauls  at  Attigny.  Otho 
did  not  retain  this  title ;  but  he  recovered  Lorraine  and  made  peace 
with  Louis,  the  husband  of  his  sister  Gerberge,*  a  princess  of  rare 
merit,  who  eventually  employed  her  influence  with  success  to  maintain 
friendly  terms  between  her  husband  and  brother.  The  struggle  of 
Louis  against  the  rebel  lords  was  prolonged  for  two  years  more,  and 
was  ended  by  the  intervention  of  Pope  Asapete  and  the  Emperor  Otho. 
The  latter  reconciled  Hugues  the  Great  with  the  King. 

The  kingdom  was  agitated  at  this  period  by  a  famous  quarrel 
between  two  priests,  who  disputed  the  archiepis copal  see  of  Reims. 
One  was  Hugues  of  Yermandois,  son  of  Count  Herbert,  who  was  con- 
secrated almost  on  leaving  the  cradle,  and  protected  by  the  Count  of 
Paris.  The  other,  elected  by  the  people,  and  a  partizan  of  the  King, 
was  the  Bishop  Artaud.  The  latter  was  for  a  time  expelled  from  his 
see,  and  Reims  liberated  itself  from  the  royal  authority.  This  quarrel 
was  prolonged  during  the  entire  reign  of  Louis  d'Outre-Mer.  It  occu- 
pies a  considerable  place  in  the  annals  of  the  epoch ;  and  in  order  to 
understand  its  importance  we  must  bear  in  mind  that  the  bishops  were, 
in  Gaul  during  the  tenth  century,  the  real  masters  of  the  cities  in 
which  they  had  their  sees,  and  that  a  town  at  that  time  was  frequently 
a  state,  and  sometimes  almost  a  kingdom. 

In  these  barbarous  times  the  violence  of  the  nobles  did  not  stop  at 
assassination,  and  the  law  was  impotent  against  the  abuses  of  brute 
force.  The  prince  who,  next  to  Hugues  the  Great,  was  the  most  for- 
midable vassal  of  the  crown,  William  Longsword,  Duke  of  Normandy, 
himself  fell  the  victim  of  an  odious  snare.  He  was  cowardly  murdered 
by  the  emissaries  of  Arnolph,  Count  of  Planders,  and  the  murderer, 

*  Hugues  the  Great,  Count  of  Paris  and  Duke  of  France,  had  married  another  sister 
of  the  Emperor  Otho,  of  the  name  of  Hedwig. 

122  GAUL    UNDER   THE    LAST    CARLOYINGIANS.        [BOOK  II.  Chap.  Ill; 

whom  the  royal  justice  could  not  reach,  remained  unpunished.*  The 
conduct  of  Louis  d'Outre-Mer  was  not  at  all  loyal  in  this  affair.  The 
Normans  had  recognized  as  William's  successor  a  natural  son  of  that 
prince,  the  youthful  Richard,  ten  years  of  age,  who  was  afterwards 
surnamed  the  Fearless.  Louis  hastened  to  confirm  him  in  the  honours 
and  privileges  of  the  ducal  rank,  and  then  asked  and  obtained  that  the 
boy  should  be  entrusted  to  him  for  the  purpose  of  receiving  at  his 
court  an  education  worthy  of  his  fortunes.  Master'of  his  person,  Louis, 
in  agreement  with  Hugues  the  Great,  thought  of  depriving  him  of  his 
duchy.  They  hoped  to  divide  Normandy  between  them,  and  made  an 
alliance  for  that  purpose.  These  culpable  hopes  were  foiled.  Osmond, 
governor  of  the  prince,  escaped  the  surveillance  of  his  keepers  by  a 
stratagem.  He  concealed  Richard  in  a  truss  of  hay,  placed  him  thus 
on  his  horse,  and,  starting  at  a  gallop,  reached  during  the  night  the 
castle  of  Coucy,  where  he  placed  the  prince  in  surety.  Louis, 
when  he  found  Richard  was  at  liberty,  openly  renounced  the  idea  of 
despoiling  him,  and  Hugues,  having  nothing  further  to  hope  from  the 
King's  alliance,  became  his  enemy  again. 

Louis,  in  his  turn,  became  the  victim  of  a  trick  on  the  part  of  the 
Normans.  Receiving  an  invitation  from  them,  he  proceeded  to  Rouen, 
and  the  reception  they  gave  him  completely  deceived  him.  The  city 
of  Bayeux  had  at  the  time  as  governor  an  ex-Danish  king  of  the  name 
of  Harold,  who  had  been  expelled  from  his  states  by  his  son.  This 
Harold  requested  a  conference  of  King  Louis,  who  went  unsuspect- 
ingly with  a  small  suite  to  meet  him  at  the  ford  of  Herluin.  Here,  at 
a  signal  from  the  Norman  chief,  an  armed  band  suddenly  fell  on  the 
royal  escort,  dispersed,  and  put  it  to  flight.  The  King's  squire  was 
killed  in  defending  him  ;  and  Louis,  carried  across  country  by  a  swift 
horse,  re-entered  the  walls  of  Rouen  alone,  where,  instead  of  a  refuge? 
he  found  a  prison.  The  inhabitants,  who  were  accomplices  in  Harold's 
perfidy,  seized  the  King's  person,  and  made  him  a  prisoner.  The 
Count  of  Paris  pretended  to  take  an  interest  in  the  fate  of  the  captive 
monarch.  He  interfered  in  his  favour,  and  demanded  as  hostages  his 
two  sons  of  Grerberge,  their  mother.  Grerberge  would  only  give  one. 
Hugues  induced  the  Normans  to  accept  him  in  exchange  for  King 

*  Richer  gives  us  to  understand  that  Hugues  the  Great,  and  even  the  Emperor  Otho, 
were  the  instigators  of  this  murder. 

-888-987]  GAUL    UNDER    THE    LAST    CARLOYINGIANF.  123 

Louis,  and  the  latter  was  delivered  over  by  tliem  into  his  hands. 
Hugues  then  threw  off  the  mask,  and,  having  the  King  in  his  power, 
he  broke  his  word,  kept  him  captive,  and  repulsed  the  powerful  inter- 
vention of  Edmund,  King  of  the  Anglo-Saxons,  in  favour  of  his 
nephew.*  Hugues  unworthily  abused  his  advantage;  he  overwhelmed 
the  unhappy  prince  with  reproaches,  and  forced  him  to  surrender  Laon, 
his  finest  city,  as  his  ransom. 

Delivered,  at  this  price,  the  King  proceeded  to  Compiegne,  where  his 
wife  Gerberge,  celebrated  for  her  virtues,  was  awaiting  him,  and 
several  bishops  and  a  few  faithful  friends  were  assembled.  Then  he 
could  no  longer  restrain  his  grief.  "  Hugues,  Hugues  !  "  he  exclaimed, 
u  what  property  hast  thou  robbed  me  of;  how  many  evils  hast  thou 
done  to  me !  Thou  hast  seized  on  the  city  of  Reims  ;  thou  hast 
defrauded  me  of  Laon.  In  those  two  cities  I  met  with  a  good  recep- 
tion, and  they  were  my  sole  ramparts.  My  captive  father  was 
delivered  by  death  from  misfortunes  like  those  by  which  I  am  crushed  ; 
and  I,  reduced  to  the  same  extremities,  can  only  recall  to  mind  the 
appearance  of  the  royalty  of  my  ancestors.  I  feel  a  regret  at  living, 
and  I  am  not  allowed  to  die  !"f  Louis,  in  his  distress,  implored  and 
obtained  the  assistance  of  his  brother-in-law,  the  Emperor  Otho  the 
Great,  King  of  Germany,  and  of  Conrad  the  Pacific,  King  of  Trans- 
peran  Burgundy  and  Provence.  With  the  assistance  of  their  armies, 
he  recaptured  the  city  of  Reims,  where  he  re-established  Archbishop 
Artaud  in  the  archiepiscopal  see.  Then  he  invested  the  city  of  Laon, 
and  seized  it  by  surprise. 

A  council,  at  which  appeared  the  Kings  of  France  and  Germany, 
assembled  at  Ingelheim,  under  the  protection  of  the  imperial  armies. 
The  principal  object  of  the  meeting  was,  on  the  one  hand  to  suspend 
the  hostilities  of  Count  Hugues  against  the  King,  and,  on  the  other,  to 
settle  the  too  famous  dispute  between  Bishop  Artaud  and  his  compe- 
titor. The  latter  was  deposed,  and  Pope  Asapete  confirmed  this 
decision.  The  council  prohibited  Hugues  from  henceforth  taking  up 
arms  against  his  lord  the  King  ;  and  the  Count,  refusing  to  obey,  was 

*  Louis  d'Outre-Mer's  mother  was  sister  of  the  Anglo-Saxon  Kings  Athelstane  and 

f  Richer,  Histoire  de  son  Temps. 

124  GAUL   UNDER   THE    LAST    CARLO  VINGIANS.        [BoOK  II.  CHAP.  III. 

The  anathema  of  the  Church,  far  from  disarming  this  powerful 
vassal,  rendered  him  more  violent  and  formidable.  Joining  the 
Normans,  he  ravaged  the  lands  of  King  Louis,  fired  his  castles,  and 
carried  pillage  and  murder  into  his  towns.  Louis  continued  the 
contest  with  more  courage  than  success.  At  length,  recognizing  his 
powerlessness,  he  applied  to  the  Pope,  King  Otho,  and  the  bishops  to 
effect  a  reconciliation  between  him  and  Hugues.  They  obtained  the 
signature  of  a  truce.  Hugues  once  again  recognized  the  royal 
authority,  and  swore  fidelity.  Louis  d'Outre-Mer  did  not  long  enjoy 
the  repose  which  this  peace  seemed  to  promise  him.  He  saw 
several  parts  of  Romanic  France,  among  others  the  Yermandois, 
the  diocese  of  Reims,  and  Laon,  ravaged  by  the  Hungarians,  and 
survived  the  invasion  of  these  barbarians  but  a  short  time.  While 
proceeding  from  Laon  to  Reims,  a  wolf  crossed  his  road.  The  King 
dashed  in  pursuit,  but  his  horse  fell,  and  he  was  mortally  wounded. 
He  died  at  the  age  of  33,  in  September,  954,  esteemed  for  his  valour 
and  talents,  which,  under  other  circumstances,  would  have  sufficed  to 
keep  the  crown  on  his  head.  The  race  of  Charlemagne  displayed  its 
last  lustre  in  the  person  of  Louis  d'Outre-Mer  :  so  long  as  he  lived, 
there  was  still  a  king  in  France,  although  there  was  no  kingdom 

Louis  IV.  left  two  sons,  of  youthful  years,  Lothaire  and  Charles. 
Their  mother,  Gerberge,  sister  of  Otho  the  Great,  King  of  Germany, 
understood  that  without  the  assistance  of  the  Count  of  Paris  the 
throne  would  slip  from  her  family.  She,  therefore,  asked  his  support ; 
and  the  same  motives  which  had  induced  Hugues  to  crown  the  father 
determined  him  also  to  crown  the  son,  from  whom  he  expected  greater 
"docility.  Lothaire,  elder  son  of  Louis  d'Outre-Mer,  was,  therefore, 
proclaimed  king  at  Reims  at  the  close  of  954,  under  the  protection  of 
Hugues  the  Great ;  and  he  recognized  this  service  by  adding  to  the 
possessions  of  Hugues  the  duchy  of  Aquitaine,  with  which  he 
invested  him,  to  the  prejudice  of  the  orphan  children  of  Raymond 
Pons,  Count  of  Toulouse,  whom  he  despoiled  of  their  father's  heritage. 
Hugues  at  once  led  an  army  into  Aquitaine ;  and,  after  an  unsuccessful 
expedition,  he  was  preparing  a  second,  when  death  surprised  him  at 
the  Castle  of  Bourdon,  on  the  Orge  (956).  During  his  lifetime,  there 
was  no  other  power  in  Gaul  comparable  to  his  j  he  employed  it  with- 

888-987]  GAUL    UNDER    THE    LAST    CARLOVINGIANS.  125 

out  moderation,  but  not  without  prudence.  He  was  the  real  founder  of 
the  grandeur  of  his  family,  but  he  did  not  attach  his  name  to  any 
useful  and  really  glorious  work  ;  and,  if  he  opened  for  his  son  the 
road  to  the  throne  on  which  his  father  and  uncle  had  already  sat,  he 
also^contributed  to  dishonour  royalty,  hj  teaching  the  nobles,  through 
his  own  example,  how  to  brave  and  oppress  those  whom  they  had 

Hugues  the  Great  left  the  duchy  of  France  and  the  county  of 
Paris  to  his  son  Hugues,  who  was  afterwards  named  Capet.*  Henry, 
his  second  son,  inherited  the  duchy  of  Burgundy.  Both  were  children 
a,t  their  father's  death.  Hugues,  the  elder,  was  hardly  ten  years  of 
age.  Their  mother  Hedwig,  and  Queen  Gerberge,  mother  and  guardian 
of  the  young  King  Lothaire,  were  sisters  ;  their  brother  was  Otho, 
King  of  Germany,  and  they  placed  their  children  under  his  protection. 

This  prince,  of  the  House  of  Saxony,  was,  at  that  period,  the  most 
illustrious  and  powerful  prince  in  Europe.  He  had  conquered  Italy 
from  King  Beranger  II.,  and  he  received  the  imperial  crown  from 
the  hands  of  the  Pope,  as  Charlemagne  had  done.  Through  his  great 
qualities  and  victories,  he  restored  all  its  vigour  to  the  Germanic 
monarchy.  His  alliances  added  to  his  greatness,  and  gave  him  an 
influence  over  the  greater  part  of  Western  Europe.  Saint  Bruno,  his 
brother,  governed  Lorraine  :f  his  brother-in-law,  Conrad  the  Pacific, 
reigned  in  Trans-peran  Burgundy  and  Provence :  lastly,  his  sisters,  one 
Queen,  the  other  Duchess  of  France,  received  advice  and  instruction 
from  him.  His  fortune  and  genius  brought  together  the  scattered 
members  of  the  old  Empire,  and  the  latter  appeared  to  be  born  again 
in  his  hands.  This  great  monarch  died  in  973.  His  successor  was  his 
son,  Otho  II. ;  and  his  death  was  followed  by  sanguinary  disorders  in 
several  countries  which  he  had  kept  in  peace  or  subjection  by  the 
terror  of  his  arms  and  his  name. 

*  There  are  very  many  versions  of  the  etymology  of  this  surname,  which  became  the 
patronymic  of  the  third  race.  One  of  the  hest  accredited  is  that  which  derives  it  from 
chap ot us  (hood),  because  Hugues,  among  his  other  titles,  was  Abbot  of  St.  Martin 
of  Torss,  and  wore  the  insignia. 

T  Lotharingia,  or  Lorraine,  Lad  been  annexed  to  the  Grerman  crown  about  the  year  923, 
by  the  Emperor  Henry  L,  called  the  Fowler.  On  becoming  a  province  of  the  Empire, 
its  government  was  given  by  Otho  to  his  brother,  St.  Bruno,  Archbishop  of  Cologne. 
The  latter  divided  it  into  two  parts,  Upper  Lorraine,  in  the  Mosellaise,  and  Lower  Lor- 
raine :  the  latter  was  almost  entirely  formed  of  the  countryTwhich  is  at  the  present  day 

126  GAUL    UNDER   THE    LAST    CARLOVTNGIANS.         [BOOK  II.  Chap.  III. 

The  bonds  of  blood  and  gratitude  attached  King  Lothaire  and 
Ungues  Capet,  Duke  of  France  and  Count  of  Paris,  to  the  Emperor 
Otho  II.,  son  of  the  great  man  who  had  protected  their  youth:  and 
both  formed  fresh  bonds  with  his  family  by  each  marrying  one  of  his 
sisters.  Still,  the  peace  between  the  two  kings  was  of  short  duration  : 
a  dispute  broke  out  on  the  subject  of  Belgian  Gaul  or  Lower  Lorraine, 
to  which  country  both  asserted  a  claim.  Lorraine,  divided  by  Otho 
the  Great  into  Upper  and  Lower  Lorraine,  and  annexed  to  the  German 
crown  by  his  predecessor,  Henry  the  Fowler,  had  since  been  con- 
sidered a  province  of  the  Empire.  Charles,  brother  of  King  Lothaire, 
had  inherited  a  few  fiefs  from  his  mother  ;  and  after  the  death  of 
Otho  the  Great,  he  claimed  them  with  arms  in  his  hand.  The 
Emperor  Otho  II.,  who  was  troubled  on  his  other  frontiers,  offered 
Charles  the  duchy  of  Lower  Lorraine,  to  be  held  by  him  as  a  fief  of  the 
Germanic  crown.  Charles  accepted  it,  and  Ofcho  believed  that  he  had 
satisfied  King  Lothaire  by  this  concession  :  but  the  latter,  on  learning 
the  following  year  that  the  Emperor  was  unsuspectingly  residing  at 
Aix-la-Chapelle,  formed  the  plan  of  surprising  him  there  ;  and  an 
expedition  was  unanimously  decided  on  against  the  King  of  Germany. 
The  army,  immediately  assembled,  was  marched  upon  the  Meuse,  and 
King  Otho  was  all  but  surprised  in^ his  capital.  Lothaire's  soldiers 
occupied  the  city  and  palace :  the  royal  tables  were  overthrown,  the 
imperial  insignia  removed,  and  the  bronze  eagle  which  Charlemagne 
had  placed  above  his  palace  with  outstretched  wings  and  turned  to 
the  west,  was  made  to  face  the  south-east,  as  a  symbol  of  the  preci- 
pitate flight  of  the  Germans.  Here  Lothaire's  success  stopped,  and 
he  led  back  his  army  without  obtaining  any  serious  advantage. 

Otho  II.  took  revenge  for  his  disgrace  :  he  invaded  Gaul  at  the 
head  of  a  formidable  army  of  Germans,  and,  ravaging  the  whole 
country  on  his  passage,  advanced  up  to  the  gates  of  Paris.  Here,  oil 
the  summit  of  Montmartre,  he  made  his  soldiers  strike  up  the  Canticle 
of  the  Martyrs,  so  as  to  be  heard  by  the  inhabitants,  and  Count  Hugues, 
who  defended  the  capital  against  him.  This  useless  bravado  was  the 
sole  satisfaction  which  the  King  of  Germany  obtained.  Despairing  of 
entering  Paris,  and  not  daring  to  remain  among  a  hostile  population, 
he  returned  to  his  states  ;  and  his  retreat,  which  was  disturbed  by 
Lothaire  and  Hugues,  was  asf-precipitate  as  his  attack  had  been. 

Lothaire  understood,  however,  that  there  was  greater  safety  for  him 

888-987]  GAUL    UNDER   THE    LAST    CARLOVINGIANS.  127 

in  the  alliance  of  the  King  of  Germany,  than  in  his  resentment :  he, 
therefore,  surrendered  to  him  his  claims  on  Lorraine,  and  they  were 
reconciled.  From  this  momenet  Hugues  Capet  and  Lothaire  became 
enemies.  But  Hngnes  soon  saw  all  the  dangers  with  which  the  union 
of  the  two  kings  threatened  him,  and  he  made  up  his  mind  to  divide 
them.  He  proceeded  secretly  to  King  Otho,  concluded  peace  with 
him,  and  on  his  return  passed  in  disguise  through  Lothaire's  posses- 
sions, contriving  to  escape  his  traps.  The  King  and  the  Duke 
employed  perfidious  machinations  against  each  other,  and  the  nations 
suffered  for  a  long  time  from  their  enmity.  At  length  recognizing 
their  impotence  to  destroy  each  other,  they  made  peace,  and  were 
ostensibly  reconciled. 

Lothaire,  during  his  lifetime,  shared  the  throne  with  his  son  Louis, 
who  was  scarce  thirteen  years  of  age.  This  young  prince  was  crowned 
in  978  at  Compiegne,  by  Adalberon,  Archbishop  of  Reims,  in  the 
presence  and  with  the  consent  of  Hugues  Capet  and  the  nobles  of  the 
kingdom.  Lothaire  attempted  to  secure  Aquitaine  for  his  son,  by 
giving  him  as  wife  Adelaide,  princess  of  Southern  Gaul,  and  widow 
of  Baymond,  Duke  of  Septimania.*  But  Louis  did  not  redeem  his 
dissipated  habits  by  any  royal  quality.  The  nobles  of  Aquitaine  did 
not  recognize  his  authority  :  his  wife  herself  deserted  him,  and  he  was 
in  a  perilous  situation,  when  King  Lothaire  entered  Aquitaine  at  the 
head  of  an  army,  and  brought  back  his  son. 

Otho  II.  died  at  this  period  (983)  at  Borne,  leaving  a  son  only  three 
years  of  age,  who  was  crowned  by  the  name  of  Otho  III.  Lothaire 
took  advantage  of  the  disorders  which  paralyzed  the  strength  of 
Germany  during  this  lad's  minority,  once  more  to  assert  his  rights 
over  Lorraine :  he  led  an  army  into  that  country,  besieged  and 
captured  Verdun.  On  returning  to  the  city  of  Laon,  he  was  medi- 
tating a  new  expedition  into  Lorraine,  when  he  fell  ill  and  expired 
(986),  in  the  forty-fifth  year  of  his  life,  and  the  thirty- third  of  his 
reign,  f 

Louis  "V.,  the  last  king  of  his  race,  merely  passed  over  the  throne. 
Comparing  his  weakness  with  the  power  of  his  vassal,  Hugues  Capet, 

^'Several  chronicles  state  that  Louis  espoused  a  princess  of  Southern  Gaul,  of  the 
name  of  Blanche,  who  eventually  poisoned  him.  We  have  followed  the  far  more  detailed 
version  of  Richer. 

+  We  are  told  in  several  chronicles  that  Lothaire  was  poisoned  by  Queen  Emma,  his 
wife,  who  was  guilty  of  adultery. 

128  GAUL    UNDER    THE    LAST    CAELOVINGIANS.  [Book  II.  Chap.  III. 

he  went  to  him,  and  said,  "  My  father,  when  dying,  recommended  me 
to  govern  the  kingdom  with  your  counsels  and  yonr  help.  He  assured 
me  that  with  your  assistance  I  should  possess  the  riches,  armies,  and 
strong  places  of  the  kingdom :  be  good  enough,  therefore,  to  give  me 
your  advice.  I  place  in  you  my  hopes,  my  will,  my  fortune."  The 
King  thus  appeared  himself  to  lay  his  crown  at  the  feet  of  his  vassal. 
Still,  the  historian  who  has  preserved  these  words  for  us,  adds  that 
the  Duke  allowed  himself  to  be  dragged  involuntarily  by  the  King  into 
a  war  against  Adalberon,  Archbishop  of  Reims,  to  whom  the  King 
imputed,  among  other  crimes,  that  of  having  facilitated  the  last 
invasion  of  Otho  II.  during  his  father's  lifetime,  and  having  assured 
his  safety '  and  that  of  the  Grermanic  army  by  assisting  him  in  his 
retreat.  The  King  and  Hugues  Capet,  therefore,  laid  siege  to  Reims, 
and  menaced  the  city  and  the  Bishop  with  the  severest  punishment, 
unless  the  latter  consented  to  purge  himself  publicly  from  the  accu- 
sations brought  against  him.  The  Metropolitan  promised  to  justify 
himself  and  appear  on  an  appointed  day ;  he  gave  hostages,  and  the 
siege  was  raised. 

Another  prelate,  of  the  name  of  Adalberon,  Bishop  of  Laon,  was, 
like  him  of  Reims,  exposed  to  persecutions  during  this  reign.  Accused 
by  the  public  clamour  of  adultery  with  Emma,  the  widow  of  Lothaire, 
he  was  expelled  from  his  see.  The  Queen  shared  his  disgrace,  and  both 
escaped  from  their  enemies  by  flight ;  but  they  fell  into  the  hands  of 
Charles,  brother  of  Lothaire,  Duke  of  Lower  Lorraine,  and  he  threw 
them  into  prison.  Hugues  Capet,  in  the  meanwhile,  was  secretly 
forming  engagements  to  the  family  reigning  in  Germany  ;  he  drew 
more  closely  the  bonds  attaching  him  to  Otho,  and  gained  over  to  his 
ambitious  views  the  Empress  Theophania,  guardian  of  the  youthful 
Otho  III. 

The  crisis  was  approaching.  Louis  "V.  had  a  fall  at  Senlis,  the 
consequences  of  which  were  mortal,  and  he  expired  only  one  year  after 
his  father's  death,  May  22,  987,  and  was  buried  at  Compiegne. 

The  nobles  of  the  kingdom,  after  being  present  at  the  King's 
funeral,  assembled  in  council  to  elect  his  successor.  Louis  had  left 
no  children  ;  but  his  uncle  Charles,  Duke  of  Lower  Lorraine,  was  his 
next  heir,  and  put  forward  his  claim  to  the  crown.  He  had  Hugues 
Capet  for  a  rival,  and  had  made  a  dangerous  enemy  of  the  Metro- 
politan, the  same  Archbishop  Adalberon  who,  exposed  to  the  wrath  of 

888-987]  GAUL   UNDER   THE   LAST   CARLOVINGIANS.  129 

the  late  king  had  promised  to  justify  himself  publicly  of  the  crimes 
imputed  to  him.  Adalberon  appeared  at  the  assembly  of  Compiegne. 
No  one  having  come  forward  to  support  the  accusation,  the  Bishop 
was  acquitted,  and  admitted  to  deliberate  on  the  affairs  of  the  State. 
Taking  his  place  among  the  nobles,  he  voted  for  the  election  being 
deferred  for  a  few  days,  and  convened  a  general  assembly  at  Senlis. 
According  to  the  testimony  of  Richer,  this  assembly  was  numerous 
and  imposing  :  at  it  were  present  Frank,  Breton,  Norman,  Aquitanian, 
Gothic,  Spanish,  and  Gascon  nobles.  The  Archbishop  of  Reims 
addressed  them.  "  Charles,"  he  said,  "has  his  partizans,  who  declare 
him  worthy  of  the  throne  by  the  right  which  his  parents  transmitted 
to  him ;  but  the  kingdom  is  not  acquired  by  hereditary  right,  and  no 
one  ought  to  be  raised  to  the  throne  except  a  man  who  is  not  only  of 
illustrious  birth,  but  possessing  wisdom  :  a  man  sustained  by  faith  and 
greatness  of  soul.  Are  these  qualities  to  be  found  in  this  Charles, 
who  is  not  governed  by  faith,  who  is  enervated  by  a  shameful  torpor, 
who  has  sunk  the  dignity  of  his  person  so  far  as  to  serve  without 
shame  a  foreign  king,  and  marry  a  wife  inferior  to  him,  drawn  from 
the  rank  of  simple  warriors  ?  *  How  could  the  grand  duke  suffer  a 
woman,  selected  from  among  his  knights,  to  become  queen,  and  domi- 
neer over  him.  If  you  desire  the  misfortune  of  the  state,  then  choose 
Charles  !  If  you  desire  its  welfare,  crown  the  excellent  Duke  Hugues. 
Choose  him,  and  you  will  find  we  have  a  protector,  not  only  of  the 
republic,  but  also  of  everybody's  interests."  Hugues  was  raised  to 
the  throne,  unanimously  crowned  at  Noyou,  on  June  1,  987,  by 
Adalberon,  and  recognized  as  king  by  the  different  nations  of  Gaul. 

*  If  Charles  had  been  very  powerful  of  himself  the  reproach  made  by  the  Archbishop 
would  have  been  valueless,  especially  in  the  mouth  of  an  enemy  ;  it  being  the  constant 
practice  of  lords  at  that  period  to  possess  simultaneously  fiefs  under  several  suzerains. 
But  Charles  had  no  personal  authority ;  the  desert  domain  he  inherited  in  France  from 
his  brother  only  consisted  of  a  few  towns  ;  he  derived  all  his  strength  from  his  fief,  and, 
as  Duke  of  Lower  Lorraine,  he  was  entirely  dependent  on  his  suzerain,  the  King  of  Ger- 
many ;  hence  there  was  reason  to  fear  lest  the  Germanic  crown  might  weigh  too  heavy  in 
the  destinies  of  France.  Charles,  moreover,  had  injured  himself  in  the  sight  of  the 
nobles  of  the  kingdom,  by  doing  homage  for  his  duchy  to  the  King  of  Germany  at 
the  very  time  when  the  suzerainty  cf  that  fief  was  claimed  by  King  Lothaire.  These 
reasons  were  among  those  that  led  the  nobles  to  prefer  Hugues  to  Charles  as  king,  and 
there  is  nothing  to  support  the  idea  of  an  asserted  opposition  to  a  dynasty  of  Germanic 


130  GAUL   UNDER   THE    LAST   CARLOVINGIANS.      [Book  II.  Chap.  III. 

The  fall  of  the  Carlovingians  was  not,  as  has  been  stated,  the  result 
of  a   popular   opposition  to  the   dynasty,  which   was    deposed  by   a 
national  feeling  as  founded  on  conquest.     This  opinion,  the   error  of 
an  illustrious  historian,  and  which  has  been  sustained  with  all  the 
power  of  talent,  is  not  confirmed  by  contemporary  testimony.     If  it 
be  true  to  say  that  Charles  Martel  penetrated  into  Western  France  at 
the  head  of  new  Germanic  bands,   it  must  be  also  allowed  that  he 
found  there  a  people  already  half  German  through  its  government, 
its  laws,  and  a  conquest  prior  by  more   than   two    centuries.     The 
chronicles  of  the  period   bear  witness  that  the   descendants  of   the 
Gauls  and  Germans  only  formed,  in  the  tenth  century,  one  people  in 
the  northern  part  of  ancient   Gaul,  and  that  the  traditional  respect 
for  the  blood  of  Charlemagne  had  survived  the  unity  of  his  empire. 
In  the  decomposition   of   the  latter,   in  the  absence  of    any  general 
idea,  and  when    society  was  broken  up    all  around,  it  was  natural 
that  the    King   should   be    engaged  in  a  contest  with   his   powerful 
subjects,  and  that  the   peoples     should    support    their    direct    lords 
against  everybody,  even  were  it  the  King.     The  same  fact  has  been 
reproduced    in    other  countries,  and,    in    order   to  understand  it,  it 
is   not   necessary  to   base   it    on   the   hereditary  hatred  of  the   two 
races.     Some   writers   have  pointed   out   a    double   cause   of  dislike 
of  the   Carlovingians,  and  popular   sympathy  for  the  descendants  of 
Robert  the  Strong,  in  the  Germanic  origin  of  the  former,  and  in  the 
support  they  at  times    asked    of   a   foreign    potentate,  the   King  of 
Germany,  a  man  of  their  own  race  and  blood.     But   long  before   the 
accession  of  the  third  race  to  the  crown,  the  family  of  the   Carlovin- 
gians had  disappeared  from  the  Imperial  throne  and  that  of  Germany. 
It  is  also  now  notorious  that  the  family  of  Robert  the   Strong  was 
quite  as  Germanic  as  that  of  Charlemagne ;  and  if  the    Carlovingian 
kings  of  Gaul  had  the  kings  of  Germany  as  allies  on  various  occasions, 
they  found  in  them  at  others  their  most   formidable    enemies,  and 
finally,    towards   the  close,  the  Duke   of  France,   and  the   King,  his 
suzerain,  were  seen  seeking,  with  equal  ardour,  the  support  of  the 
Gemanic  crown  in  their  contest. 

The  real  explanation  of  the  accession  of  the  third  race  will  be  found 
in  the  state  of  society,  which  was  assuming  another  form,  and  being 
established  on  a  new  basis.     Charlemagne  had  attempted  to  impress 

888-987]  GAUL   UNDER   THE    LAST    CARLOVINGIANS.  131 

on  the  monarchy  a  grand  character  of  unity,  and  these  ideas  of  unity 
and  the  concentration  of  power  were  the  dream  and  object  of  the 
efforts  of  his  successors,  either  on  the  Imperial  throne,  or  at  the  head 
of  the  states  into  which  the  Empire  was  broken  up,  but  these  proud 
pretensions  were  no  longer  tenable  in  Gaul  at  the  end  of  the  tenth 
century :  they  were  opposed  to  the  tendencies  of  the  age,  and  formed 
a  singular  contrast  with  the  feebleness  of  those  who  were  crushed  by 
the  royal  title.  A  subterranean  revolution,  from  which  feudalism 
emerged,  was  slowly  accomplished  ;  another  society  was  formed ;  and 
any  new  society  can  only  live  and  prosper,  so  long  as  it  has  at  its  head 
a  representative  of  the  principles  that  constituted  it.  Hugues  Capet, 
the  most  powerful  of  the  feudal  lords,  was  in  France  the  natural 
representative  of  the  new  social  order  based  on  feudalism :  and  it  was 
especially  for  that  reason  that  he  was  elected  king. 

The  tenth  century  is  one  of  the  most  obscure  and  disastrous  epochs 
in  the  history  of  France :  everything  became  weak  simultaneously,  the 
pious  zeal  and  virtues  of  the  clergy,  the  authority  of  the  laws,  and  the 
independence  of  the  inhabitants  of  cities.  The  Saracens,  Hungarians, 
Germans,  and  Normans  desolated  the  country,  and  burnt  the  cities  j 
the  latter  were  no  longer  the  seat  of  government  or  of  subaltern 
administrations,  and  the  residences  of  the  rich.  The  castles  alone 
afforded  a  refuge  against  foreign  invasions  and  civil  wars,  and  to  them 
retired  all  those  who  enjoyed  any  authority :  there,  too,  justice  was 
done,  and  the  courts  were  held.  Commerce  disappeared,  and  with  it 
the  citizen  and  industrious  classes  :  independent  men,  rich  landowners 
and  manufacturers,  were  succeeded  in  most  of  the  cities  by  a  trembling 
and  servile  population :  the  tradesman  had  no  longer  any  fixed  resi- 
dence; he  travelled  from  manor  to  manor,  carrying  his  wares  with 
him,  and  concealing  his  profit  in  terror.  Around  each  castle  sprang 
up  wretched  cabins,  inhabited  by  serfs,  who  carried  on  mechanical 
trades,  or  cultivated  the  soil  on  behalf  of  the  lord :  nearly  the  whole 
people  consisted  of  serfs,  at  the  mercy  of  the  nobles,  and  victims  of 
each  political  commotion.  The  frightful  misery  and  general  desolation 
seemed  at  that  time  to  justify  the  popular  belief  that  the  end  of  the 
world  was  at  hand,  and  that  it  would  happen  in  the  year  1000.  Still, 
at  the  moment  of  this  decadence,  and  when  the  old  social  order 
perished,  another  rose  on  its  ruins,  founded  by  the  small  number  of 

k  2 



persons  who  had  remained  free  and  powerful,  in  the  protection  of  their 
castles.  This  new  order  of  things,  which  received  the  name  of  feu- 
dalism, had  taken  deep  root  during  the  past  century,  and  despite  its 
immense  abuses  prevented  the  utter  dissolution  of  every  social  tie,  and 
a  return  to  the  barbarism  of  remote  periods. 


Pepin  the  Short, 






Louis  I., 

called  the  Debonnaire, 



l                                1                                1. 
Lothaire  I.,                 Pepin  I.,                     Louis  II., 

Charles  II., 

Emperor.           King  of  Aquitaine.     called  the  German,          called  the  Bald, 

King  of  Bavaria,                 840-877. 

was  father  of 

the  Emperor  Charles,               Louis  II., 

called  the  Fat 

,                    called  the 

King  of  the  Grauls                Stammerer, 

from  884-888. 


1                                            1 
Louis  III.                           Carloman, 

Charles  III., 

879-882.                         879-884. 

called  the  Simple, 

excluded  from  the 

throne  from  884-888 

bv  Charles  the  Fat : 

from  888-898  by 

Count  Eudes : 

eventually  reigned 

from  898-923. 

Louis  IV.,  called  d?  Outre  Mer, 
excluded  from  the  throne  from  933-936 
by  Raoul,  Duke  of  Burgundy, 
reigned  from  936-954. 


Louis  V. , 

called  the  Slothful, 


last  Carlovingian  king. 


Duke  of  Lower  Lorraine, 

excluded  from  the  throne 

after  the  death  of 

his  nephew,  Louis  V. 





BOOK   I. 







The  accession  of  Hugues  Capet  had  for  result  the  development  of  the 
feudal  system  by  consolidating  it.  Under  the  previous  race,  the  lords 
had  rendered  the  cession  of  benefices  irrevocable,  and  made  them 
hereditary  in  their  families  ;  and  as  the  German  customs  authorized 
the  possessors  of  estates  to  regard  as  their  own  property  not  only  the 
soil  acquired,  but  also  everything  that  existed  on  the  soil  at  the  moment 
of  the  cession  or  conquest,  they  soon  persuaded  themselves  that  they 
had  a  right  to  exercise  civil,  judicial,  and  military  power  in  their  domains, 
by  virtue  of  their  sole  title  as  owners.  Authority  was  consequently 
established  by  possession,  and,  by  a  strange  fiction,  power  was  attached 
to  the  land  itself.     Such  was  in  France  the  origin  of  feudalism. 

Under  the  second  race,  the  kings,  ever  sacrificing  the  future  to  the 
present,  had  in  turn  abandoned  to  the  dukes  and  counts  all  the  regal 
or  royal  rights — those  of  raising  troops,  administering  justice,  coining 
money,  making  peace  or  war,  and  fortifying  themselves ;  and  from 
the  moment  when  they  recognized,  by  the  edict  _  of  Kersy,  the  trans- 
mission of  offices  to  the  next   heir  as  legal,    the    dukes  and  counts 

136  THE   FEUDAL   SYSTEM.  [Book  I. 

regarded  themselves  as  possessors  of  the  provinces  in  which  their  will 
was  law.  While  de  facto  independent  of  the  crown,  the  majority, 
however,  still  remained  subordinate  to  it  by  the  bond  of  the  oath  of 
fidelity.  They  distributed,  of  their  own  free  will,  domains  among  the 
nobles,  who  received  them  on  faith  and  homage  :  and  the  latter  granted 
inferior  benefices  to  freemen  on  the  same  title.  A  great  number  of 
independent  proprietors,  alarmed  by  the  ravages  of  external  foes,  and 
the  commotion  of  the  civil  discords,  sought  support  from  their 
powerful  neighbours,  and  obtained  it  by  doing  them  homage  for  their 
lands,  which  they  received  back  from  the  lords  to  whom  they  offered 
them  as  fiefs,  the  possession  of  which  henceforth  entailed  the  obligation 
of  rendering  faithful  service  to  the  suzerain.  Thus,  he  who  gave  a 
territorial  estate  *  in  fief  became  the  suzerain  of  him  who  received  it 
on  this  title,  and  the  latter  was  called  a  vassal,  or  liegeman.  The 
landholders  were  thus  considered,  throughout  the  entire  extent  of  the 
kingdom  of  France,  as  subjects,  or  vassals  to  each  other.  This  system, 
which  extended  to  the  provinces,  as  well  as  to  simple  private  domains, 
established  a  connecting  link  between  all  parts  of  the  territory.  In 
the  feudal  hierarchy  the  first  rank  belonged  to  the  country  or  state 
which  bore  the  title  of  kingdom ;  and  this  title,  on  the  coronation  of 
Hugues  Capet,  was  acquired  for  the  ancient  duchy  of  France,  a  great 
fief,  which,  on  account  of  its  central  position,  the  warlike  character  of 
its  inhabitants,  and  the  extinction  of  the  kingly  title  in  the  neighbour- 
ing states,  was  in  a  position  eventually  to  obtain  a  real-supremacy. 

The  feudal  system  rapidly  embraced  old  Gaul,  Italy,  and  Germany, 
and  afterwards  spread  over  the  whole  of  Europe  :  it  prepared  the  for- 
mation of  the  great  states,  and,  during  two  hundred  and  forty  years, 
took  the  place  of  the  social  bond,  and  of  legislation. 

The  first  portion  of  this  period  resembles  an  interregnum,  during 
which  the  king  was  only  distinguished  from  the  other  lords  by 
honorary  prerogatives.  Each  fortress  of  any  importance  gave  its 
owner   rank  among  the  sovereigns  ;  and  as  the  civil  discords  made 

*  It  must  not  be  supposed  that  land  alone  could  be  the  object  of  a  feudal  concession. 
Immaterial  things,  such  as  a  large  number  of  rights,  were  also  constituted  into  fiefs,  and 
conceded  on  the  same  conditions.  Amongst  these  may  be  mentioned  the  rights  of 
fishing  and  hunting,  of  established  taxes  on  highways  or  rivers,  and  the  exclusive  right 
of  grinding  corn,  &c. 

Chap.  I.]  THE   FEUDAL   SYSTEM.  137 

the  nobles  feel  the  necessity  of  attaching  to  themselves  a  considerable 
number  of  men  for  their  personal  security,  they  divided  their  domains 
into  a  multitude  of  lots,  which  they  gave  in  fief;  granting  to  their 
vassals  the  permission  to  fortify  themselves,  which  they  had  themselves 
wrung  from  Louis  the  Stammerer  ;  and  a  great  number  of  castles 
were  erected  round  the  principal  fortress.  It  is  the  general  opinion 
that  doing  homage  for  a  fief  ennobled ;  and  the  nobility  thus  sprang 
up,  to  a  great  extent,  from  the  ninth  to  the  tenth  century.  The  right 
granted  to  subjects  of  providing  for  their  own  defence  arrested  the 
devastations  of  foreigners ;  strengthened  the  national  character ; 
revived  a  healthy  feeling  of  self-respect  among  the  members  of  a 
numerous  class ;  and  authorized  them  in  demanding  equal  politeness 
from  those  from  whom  they  held  estates,  as  well  as  from  those  to 
whom  they  ceded  them,  the  feudal  contract  being  annulled  by  the 
violation  of  the  obligations  contracted  on  either  side.  This  new  subor- 
dination was  partly  based  on  the  faith  of  the  oath ;  and  respect  in 
sworn  fidelity  and  loyalty  thus  became  one  of  the  distinctive  traits  in 
the  character  of  the  nobility.* 

The  principal  obligations  contracted  by  the  vassal  under  this  system 
were  to  bear  arms  for  a  certain  number  of  days  on  every  military 
expedition  ;  to  recognize  the  jurisdiction  of  the  suzerain  ;  and  to  pay 
the  feudal  aids — a  species  of  tax  raised  for  the  ransom  of  the  lord,  if 
he  were  made  prisoner ;  or  on  the  occasion  of  the  marriage  of  his 
eldest  daughter ;  or  when  his  son  was  made  a  knight.  Whenever  a 
fief  passed  from  one  to  another,  either  by  inheritance  or  sale,  a  fee  was 
paid  to  the  suzerain,  who,  on  his  side,  promised  his  liegeman  justice 
and  protection.  On  these  conditions,  the  vassal  was  independent  on 
his  own  land,  and  enjoyed  the  same  rights,  and  was  bound  by  the  same 
duties  towards  his  own  vassals,  as  his  suzerain. 

In  this  organization  of  feudal  society  the  old  pleas  of  the  nation 
were  altered  into  county  pleas,  in  which  the  vassals  united  under 
the  presidency  of  the  count,  and  judicial  combat  was  brought  back 
into  use,  and  became  the  basis  of  jurisprudence  between  gentlemen. 

*  The  following  is  the  formula  of  the  oath  pronounced  by  the  vassal  on  asking  the 
investiture  of  his  fief  : — "  Sire,  I  come  to  your  homage,  in  your  faith,  and  become  your 
man  of  mouth  and  hands,  and  swear,  and  promise  to  you  faith  and  loyalty  toward  all,  and 
against  all,  and  to  keep  your  right  in  my  power." 

138  THE  FEUDAL  SYSTEM.  [Book  I. 

From  this  time,  the  different  codes  of  laws,  which  had  so  long  subsisted 
among  the  various  indigenous  or  conquered  nations  of  Graul,  entirely- 
disappeared.  It  was  generally  admitted  that  no  man  could  be 
tried  save  by  his  peers,  by  which  word  was  meant  vassals  of  the  same 
rank.  The  great  vassals  of  the  crown — the  Dukes  of  Normandy, 
Aquitaine,  and  Burgundy,  and  the  Counts  of  Flanders,  Toulouse,  and 
Champagne — were  nominated  peers  of  France  ;  and  to  these  six  lay 
peers  were  eventually  added  six  ecclesiastical  peers,  who  were 
the  Archbishops  of  Reims  and  Sens,  and  the  Bishops  of  Noyou, 
Beauvais,  Chalons,  and  Langres.  When  a  peer  of  France  was 
summoned  before  the  rest,  the  king  presided  at  the  trial.  All  these 
laws,  conventions,  and  usages  only  concerned  the  nobility:  the 
people  were  counted  as  nothing ;  and  the  nobles  and  gentry,  isolated 
from  them  in  their  habitations  and  through  their  privileges,  were 
even  more  distinguished  by  their  dress  and  weapons.  It  was  thus 
that  they  kept  the  wretched  and  defenceless  population  in  subjection. 
The  military  art  underwent  a  change,  and  the  cavalry  henceforth 
became  the  strength  of  armies :  bodily  exercises,  equitation,  the 
management  of  the  lance  and  sword,  were  the  sole  occupation  of  the 
nobility ;  and  the  sale  of  arms,  one  of  the  principal  branches  of 
trade  in  Europe.  This  first  period  of  the  feudal  confederation 
witnessed  the  birth  of  chivalry,  respect  for  women,  and  modern 
languages  and  poetry. 

Such  were  the  chief  effects  of  this  system  as  concerns  the  general 
policy  and  the  interests  of  the  nobility.  We  have  now  to  examine  it 
in  its  relations  with  the  Church  and  the  people. 

After  the  invasion  of  Gaul  by  the  Franks,  religion,  so  far  as  the 
mass  of  the  people  were  concerned,  mainly  consisted  in  external 
ceremonies,  and  in  the  veneration  of  relics,  of  images  of  the 
Virgin  and  the  saints,  and  of  pictures  representing  the  mysteries  of 
the  faith,  the  actions  of  Christ  and  of  the  Apostles,  and  the  first 
believers.  The  magnificence  of  the  worship  exercised  a  great 
influence  ;  and  the  priests,  under  the  Carlo vingians,  imposed  on  the 
people,  and  more  especially  upon  the  nobles,  by  means  of  their  riches 
and  their  power.  But  the  Church  which,  in  the  fifth  and  sixth 
centuries,  had  alone  resisted  the  invasion  of  barbarism,  was  less 
powerful  to  restrain  the  corruption  entailed  by  an  excess  of  wealth. 

Chap.  I.]  THE   FEUDAL   SYSTEM.  139 

Large  numbers  of  barbarians  had  entered  the  ranks  of  the  clergy, 
and  virtue  and  learning  almost  entirely  disappeared  from  amongst 
them  from  the  eighth  to  the  tenth  century.  In  default  of  these  claims 
on  the  respect  of  men,  the  only  means  the  Church  possessed  of  pre- 
serving its  ascendancy  in  these  unhappy  times  was  to  remain  rich  and 
powerful ;  and  at  the  period  of  the  progressive  establishment  of  the 
feudal  system,  it  saw  with  terror  the  great  vassals  encroaching  on  its 
domains.  The  clergy  soon  comprehended  that,  as  all  the  authority 
was  in  the  hands  of  the  possessors  of  fiefs,  they  must  themselves 
form  part  of  the  new  confederation.  They  therefore  did  homage  for 
the  Church  domains,  and  then  divided  them  into  numerous  lots, 
which  they  converted  into  fiefs,  thus  obtaining  suzerains  and  vassals. 
As  the  obligation  of  military  service  was  inseparable  from  the  pos- 
session of  fiefs,  the  clergy  were  subjected  to  it  like  all  the  other 
vassals ;  they  took  up  arms  at  the  summons  of  their  suzerains,  and 
constrained  their  liegemen  to  fight  for  them.  From  this  time  a  great 
number  of  bishops  and  abbots  lived  the  lives  of  nobles;  arms  occu- 
pied them  as  much  as  the  religious  services ;  and  they  neglected  the 
most  sacred  duties  of  religion"  for  the  licence  of  camps.  Wherever 
the  clergy  did  not  embrace  a  martial  life,  the  temporal  lord  obtained 
an  immense  advantage  over  them,  and  the  bishops  and  -abbots  often 
found  it  necessary  to  place  themselves  under  the  protection  of  a  noble 
who  was  paid  to  defend  them ;  and  who  was  called  advocate,  or 
vidaine.  The  clergy,  through  these  feudal  organizations,  were  diverted 
from  the  object  of  their  institution,  the  people  more  rarely  obtained 
consolation  and  succour  at  their  hands,  and  most  of  the  dignitaries  of 
the  Church  joined  the  ranks  of  the  oppressors. 

An  immense  majority  of  the  people  lived  in  a  servile  condition. 
The  class  of  freemen,  as  we  previously  said,  had  to  a  great  extent 
disappeared  under  the  Carlovingians ;  the  citizen  class  had  grown 
weaker,  as  the  importance  of  the  cities  became  diminished;  and  we 
may  fairly  say  that,  at  the  end  of  the  tenth  century,  there  was  no 
middle  class  between  the  nobles,  the  sole  possessors  of 'all  the  enjoy- 
ments of  life,  and  the  wretches  whose  humble  cabins  surrounded  their 
castles,  and  who  were  called  serfs,  or  men  of  servitude,  attached  to 
the  glebe — that  is  to  say,  to  the  land  they  cultivated.  They  were 
bought  and  sold  with  the  land,  and  were  unable  to  leave  it  of  their 

140  THE    FEUDAL    SYSTEM.  [Book  I. 

own  accord,  to  establish  themselves  elsewhere,  when  they  found  them- 
selves too  cruelly  oppressed.  They  possessed  nothing  of  their  own — 
neither  the  huts  in  which  they  lived,  nor  their  implements  of  labour, 
nor  the  fruit  of  their  toil,  nor  their  time,  nor  their  children :  every- 
thing belonged  to  the  lord ;  and  if  they  were  guilty  of  any  fault  in 
his  sight,  they  could  not  invoke,  for  their  defence,  any  law  or  authority, 
for  the  right  of  seignorial  justice,  of  life  and  death,  was  absolute. 

The  condition  of  the  freemen,  who  did  not  hold  fief,  and  lived  on 
seignorial  domains,  seems  to  have  been  equally  deplorable.  Designated 
as  villains,  or  "  roturiers,"  they  hardly  enjoyed  the  right  of  marrying 
whom  they  thought  proper,  or  of  disposing  of  their  property  as  they 
pleased.  They  were  gradually  crushed  by  intolerable  burdens,  or  sub- 
jected to  humiliating  obligations  ;  -they  had  not  the  slightest  protec- 
tion, and  had  incessantly  to  fear  the  imposition  of  some  fine  or  new 
tax,  or  the  confiscation  of  their  goods.  A  great  number  of  them  took 
refuge  in  the  towns,  where  equally  great  evils  followed  them.  The 
counts  exercised  there  over  them  an  authority  equal  to  that  of  the 
seigneurs  on  their  lands  ;  the  tolls  and  dues  of  every  description  were 
infinitely  multiplied  ;  and  the  towns  were  eventually  subjected,  like 
the  country,  to  an  arbitrary  impost  called  taille  ;  they  were  obliged  to 
keep  their  lord  and  his  people  when  he  came  within  their  walls  ;  pro- 
visions, furniture,  horses,  vehicles — in  short,  everything  they  possessed 
was  taken  by  main  force  from  the  inhabitants,  at  the  caprice  of  the 
master  or  his  followers,  without  payment  or  compensation  of  any 
kind.  In  a  word,  all  social  force  and  influence  resided  in  the  possessors 
of  fiefs,  who  alone  had  liberty,  power,  and  enjoyment. 

Such  was  the  system  which,  under  the  name  of  feudalism,  weighed 
down  Europe  for  centuries.  But  it  rescued  her  from  the  anarchy  and 
chaos  into  which  she  was  plunged,  and  was  the  first  clumsy  attempt 
at  social  organization  made  by  society  itself  since  the  fall  of  the 
Roman  Empire.  In  this  vast  system,  the  hierarchy  often  only  existed 
theoretically ;  the  stronger  contrived  to  make  themselves  independent, 
and  incalculable  evils  resulted  from  this.  The  territory  of  Old  Graul 
was  for  a  long  time  a  blood-stained  arena  open  to  the  ambition  of 
kings  and  nobles ;  but  the  want  of  union  among  the  oppressors  finally 
turned  to  the  advantage  of  the  oppressed,  who  were  sustained  by  the 
royal  authority,  when  the  latter,  through  its  conquest  over  the  aristo- 

Chap.  I.]  THE    FEUDAL    SYSTEM.  141 

cracy,  prepared  new  and  more  happy  destinies  for  France.  An  impor- 
tant progress  toward  a  better  order  of  things  was  that  which  consti- 
tuted a  central  force,  sufficiently  powerful  to  keep  all  in  check,  and  to 
destroy  the  tyranny  of  the  lords,  and  which,  by  creating  a  middle 
class  between  the  nobility  and  the  serfs,  granted  one  portion  of  the 
people  the  most  precious  rights  of  civil  liberty.  History  shows  us 
the  French  advancing  to  this  double  goal  through  long  convulsions, 
amid  internal  discords,  and  foreign  wars.  For  centuries  they  ap- 
proached, but  did  not  reach  it ;  they  owed  their  first  progress  to  the 
providential  concurrence  of  events  as  much  as  to  their  own  efforts, 
and  these  combined  causes  resulted  primarily  in  the  rapid  growth  of 
the  power  of  the  king,  the  decay  of  seignorial  authority,  the  restora- 
tion of  industry,  and  the  enfranchisement  of  the  people  of  the  towns. 

142  HUGUES   CAPET.  [Book  I.  Chap.  II. 






On  the  accession  of  the  third  race,  France,  properly  so  called,  only- 
comprised  the  territory  between  the  Somme  and  the  Loire ;  it  was 
bounded  by  the  counties  of  Flanders  and  Vermandois  on  the  north ; 
by  Normandy  and  Brittany  on  the  west ;  by  the  Champagne  on  the 
east ;  by  the  duchy  of  Aquitaine  on  the  south.  The  territory  within 
these  bounds  was  the  duchy  of  France,  the  patrimonial  possession  of 
the  Capets,  and  constituted  the  royal  domain.  The  great  fiefs  of  the 
crown,  in  addition  to  the  duchy  of  France,  were  the  duchy  of  Nor- 
mandy, the  duchy  of  Burgundy,  nearly  the  whole  of  Flanders  formed 
into  a  county,  the  county  of  Champagne,  the  duchy  of  Aquitaine,  and 
the  county  of  Toulouse.*  We  have  already  seen  that  the  sovereigns 
of  these  various  states  were  the  great  vassals  of  the  crown,  and  peers 
of  France,  Lorraine,  and  a  portion  of  Flanders  were  dependent  on 
the  Germanic  crown,  while  Brittany  was  a  fief  of  the  duchy  of  Nor- 

The  efforts  made  by  Hugues  to  reach  the  throne,  which  was  the 
object  of  all  his  wishes,  seem  to  have  exhausted  his  strength,  and  he 
appears  in  history  less  formidable  as  king  than  he  had  been  as  vassal. 
He  had,  in  the  first  instance,  to  conquer  Charles  of  Lorraine,  his  com- 
petitor ;  and  he  triumphed  over  him  by  cunning  more  than  by  arms. 
This  unhappy  prince  exclaimed,  as  he   addressed  his  followers,  with 

*  The  county  of  Barcelona  beyond  the  Alps  was  also  one  of  the  great  fiefs  of  the  crown 
of  France. 

987-1108]  HUGUES    CAPET.  143 

his  face  bathed  in  tears,  "My  age  is  advancing,  and  I  find  myself, 
when  in  years,  despoiled  of  my  patrimony.  I  cannot,  without  weeping, 
look  upon  my  young  children,  the  scions  of  an  unfortunate  father.  0 
my  friends,  come  to  my  succour — come  to  the  help  of  my  children  !  ' ' 
He  had  a  momentary  hope  of  regaining  his  hereditary  crown ;  he 
made  himself  master  of  the  city  of  Laon  by  the  treachery  of  Arnoul, 
Archbishop  of  Reims ;  but  it  was  soon  afterwards  torn  from  him  by 
another  act  of  treachery,  and  he  fell  into  the  hands  of  his  rival,  who 
threw  him  into  prison^  with  his  wife  and  children.  Thus  the  illustrious 
race  of  Charlemagne  expired  in  Gaul,  as  far  as  history  is  concerned.* 

Hugues  Capet,  like  his  first  successors,  made  a  close  alliance  with 
the  Church,  and  found  it  difficult  to  maintain  in  obedience  the  nobles 
who  had  raised  him  to  the  throne.  He  contended  for  a  long  time 
against  Adalbert,  Count  of  Berigard,  one  of  his  most  obstinate  adver- 

"Who  made  you  count?"  Hugues  asked  him  angrily,  while  re- 
proaching him  with,  his  rebellion. 

"And  who  made  you  king?"  was  the  haughty  answer,  which, 
revealed  to  the  King  the  inconveniences  and  perils  of  his  situation. 
Hugues  next  waged  a  sanguinary  war  against  his  vassal,  Eudes,  Count 
de  Chartres.  He  took  from  him  the  town  of  Melun,  and,  to  complete 
his  subjugation,  was  compelled  to  unite  his  forces  with  tnose  of  the 
count's  worst  enemy,  Foulques,  Count  of  Anjou. 

One  of  the  most  important  occupations  of  this  King  was  the  convo- 
cation of  synods  or  councils.  The  bishops  at  that  time  had  the  greatest 
share  in  the  government  of  the  cities.  One  of  them,  the  celebrated 
Arnoul  of  Reims,  who,  as  we  have  seen,  was  guilty  of  treason  against 
the  King  in  surrendering  the  town  of  Laon  to  his  rival,  was  summoned 
before  a  council,  and  deposed.  Pope  John  XV.  quashed  this  sentence, 
and  the  clergy  signalized  their  opposition  by  submitting  the  papal 
decision  to  a  new  council. 

Cruel  wars  between  the  great  vassals  and  fearful  calamities  marked 
the  course  of  this  reign,  and  confirmed  the  people  in  the  idea  that  the 
end  of  the  world  was  at  hand.     A  horrible  pestilence  ravaged  Aqui- 

*  Six  hundred  years  later,  the  ambitious  princes  of  the  House  of  Guise  claimed  the 
French  throne,  by  appealing  to  the  rights  of  this  same  Charles  of  Lorraine,  from  whom 
they  declared  themselves  descended. 

-4  ROBERT.  [BookI.Chap.II. 

taine  and  a  great  part  of  the  kingdom,  and  so  great  was  the  suffering 
of  the  time,  that  the  expectation  of  universal  destruction  inspired 
many  hearts  with  hope  rather  than  fear.  The  rich  and  the  great, 
sharing  in  the  general  belief,  lavished  immense  donations  on  the 
clergy ;  many  valiant  military  chiefs  exchanged  the  sword  and  cuirass 
for  the  frock  and  hair-shirt  of  the  monk ;  and  Hugues  Capet  himself 
reigned  without  wearing  the  diadem,  either  because  he  doubted  the 
validity  of  his  royal  title,  or  because  he  desired  to  give  his  people  an 
example  of  humility  and  respect  for  sacred  things.  He  continued 
during  his  whole  life  to  wear  the  cape  as  titular  abbot  of  St.  Martin 
of  Tours.  He  placed  his  crown  under  the  safeguard  of  the  Church, 
and  during  his  lifetime  caused  his  son  Robert  to  be  crowned,  and 
recommended  to  him,  above  all  things,  to  guard  the  treasure  of  the 
abbeys,  and  submit  himself  to  the  Pope. 

Hugues  Capet  died  in  his  bed,  after  a  reign  of  nine  years ;  he  is 
only  illustrious  as  the  founder  of  a  new  dynasty,  and  this  great  event 
must  be  attributed  to  circumstances,  far  more  than  to  his  genius. 

The  custom  of  appanages,  or  territorial  gifts,  of  more  or  less  extent, 
granted  to  the  younger  sons  of  the  kings,  dates  from  the  accession  of 
the  third  race.  These  appanages,  restricted  at  the  outset,  evidently 
embraced  entire  provinces,  and  this  custom  became,  ■with  them,  the 
chief  obstacle  to  the  territorial  unity  of  the  kingdom. 


Robert  was  faithful  to  the  pious  instructions  of  his  father.  This 
King  seems,  through  his  rare  gentleness  and  his  indulgent  kindness,  to 
belong  to  another  age.  Profoundly  moved  by  the  sufferings  of  his 
people,  he  appeared  to  have  undertaken  the  task  of  relieving  the 
wretched  by  unbounded  charity ;  and  disarming  the  rigour  of  Heaven 
by  angelic  patience,  and  the  practice  of  the  most  fervent  devotion. 
Many  instances  of  simple  and  touching  goodness  are  recorded  of  him. 
A  beggar,  whom  he  was  feeding  with  his  own  hand,  stealthily 
removed  a  fringe  of  gold  from  the  King's  robe,  and  Queen  Constance 
observed  the  theft.  "  The  man  who  stole  the  fringe  from  me,"  said 
the  good  monarch  to  his  wife,  "  doubtless  needs  it  more  than  I."  On 
another  occasion,  a  thief  cut  off  one  half  of  his  cloak  while  he  was 
at  prayers  :  "  Leave  the  rest  for  another  time,"  said  the  King,  mildly. 

987-1108]  HIS    SUPERSTITION.  145 

This  prince,  whose  pious  zeal  equalled  his  charity,  composed  sacred 
hymns,  sang  at  the  choristers'  desk,  and  directed  the  choir  of  St. 
Denis  on  holy  days. 

Among  other  peculiar  traits  of  his  simple  superstition,  it  is  recorded 
that  he  did  not  believe  an  oath  obligatory,  unless  made  over  the  relics 
of  saint  or  martyr,  to  which  he  offered  special  worship.     In  order  to 
avoid  the  sin  of  a  violation  of  faith,  he  made  those  in  whose  word  he 
had  no  confidence,  swear,  without  knowing  it,  at  a  shrine  from  which 
the  relics  had  been  removed ;  and  when  he  himself  took  an  oath  upon 
this  empty  shrine,  he  did  not  scruple  to  perjure  himself.     His  fervent 
piety  did  not  protect  Robert  from  ecclesiastical  censures  ;    or  from 
the  most  violent  persecutions  of  the  Court  of  Rome.     The  laws  of  the 
Church  at  that  time  composed  the  entire  civil  legislation  :  the  Popes 
constituted  themselves   sovereign  arbiters  of  cases  in  which  marriage 
was  permitted  ;  and  this  displayed  a  praiseworthy  courage  in  contend- 
ing against  the  unbridled  passions  of  the  kings  ;  and  their  firmness 
powerfully  contributed  towards  preserving  Christianity  from  sad  dis- 
orders, and  possibly  from  polygamy.  But,  by  an  abuse  of  their  authority, 
they  carried  the  prohibition  of  marriage  too  far,  and  proved  terrible 
to  those  who  dared  to  violate  their  injunctions,  which  were  frequently 
arbitrary  and  unjust.    Excommunication,  and  the  placing  of  a  territory 
under  an  interdict,  were  among  the  means  most  frequently  employed 
by  the  Pontiffs  to  compel  the  submission  of  sovereigns.    No  one  might 
eat,  drink,  or  pray  with  an  excommunicated  person,  under  penalty  of 
being  himself  excommunicated  :  when  the  Pope  placed  a  country  under 
interdict,  it  was  forbidden  to  celebrate  divine  service,  to  administer 
the  sacraments  to  adults,  or  to  bury  the  dead  in  consecrated  ground  ; 
the  sound  of  bells  ceased,  the  pictures  in  churches  were  covered,  and 
the  statues  of  saints  were  taken  down  and  laid  on  beds  of  ashes  and 
thorns.     The  Court  of  Rome  struck  at  its  enemies  with  these  redoubt- 
able weapons,  not  dealing  less  rigorously  with  sovereigns  than  with 
subjects.     King  Robert  experienced  this  ;  Hugh,  his  father,  disquieted 
by  the  Normans  established  at  Blois,  who  had  refused  to  recognize 
him,   gained  them  over  by  making  his  son  espouse  the    celebrated 
Bertha,  widow  of  Eudes  I.  of  Blois.  This  princess  possessed  claims  on 
the  kingdom  of  Burgundy,  bequeathed  by  her  brother  Rodolph  to  the 
Empire,  and  had  power  to  transmit  them  to  the  reigning  family  of 



France.  The  Einperor  Otho  III.  was  alarmed  at  this,  and  Pope 
Gregory  "V.,  alleging  a  degree  of  relationship  against  the  marriage, 
ordered  Robert  to  leave  his  wife,  and  on  his  refusal,  excommunicated 
him.  It  is  recorded  that  upon  this  the  King  was  at  once  abandoned 
by  all  his  servants  ;  and  it  was  a  popular  belief,  kept  up  by  the  monks, 
that  Queen  Bertha  was  delivered  of  a  monster.  Robert,  compelled  at 
length  to  repudiate  her,  espoused  the  imperious  Constance,  daughter 
of  the  Count  of  Toulouse.  She  reigned  in  his  name,  having  his 
authority,  and  caused  the  King's  favourite,  Hugues  of  Beauvais, 
to  be  murdered  in  his  presence. 

Robert,  in  spite  of  his  habitual  gentleness,  was  an  accomplice  in  the 
cruelties  inflicted  on  the  heretics  by  Constance,  twelve  of  whom  were 
ordered  before  a  council  held  at  Orleans  under  his  presidency,  and 
sentenced  to  be  burnt  alive  :  amongst  them  was  an  ex-confessor  of  the 
Queen.  The  King  believed  that  he  was  doing  a  pious  deed  by  being" 
present  at  their  punishment ;  and  Constance,  who  was  standing  on  the 
road  leading  to  the  pyre,  put  out  one  of  her  confessor's  eyes  with  a 
stick  as  he  passed  along.  This  barbarous  fanaticism,  one  of  the  cha- 
racteristic features  of  the  epoch,  lasted  for  six  centuries  longer  in 
Europe ;  and  the  Jews  were,  during  the  greater  portion  of  the  time, 
the  object  of  so  much  execration,  that  any  act  of  cruelty  to  them  was 
regarded  as  a  meritorious  deed.  Nearly  everywhere  they  were  out- 
raged and  plundered  with  impunity,  the  people  barbarously  taking 
vengeance  for  their  own  sufferings  on  these  hapless  beings,  and  think- 
ing that  they  honoured  God  in  persecuting  them. 

Victims  of  the  perpetual  discords  of  the  nobles,  the  people  saw 
their  own  crops  destroyed  and  cottages  burned  :  there  was  for  them 
neither  rest  nor  security.  Still,  the  inhabitants  of  the  towns  were 
already  beginning  to  endure  with  reluctance  the  vexatious  tyranny 
of  their  lords,  and  to  regard  with  some  degree  of  irritation  their 
precarious  condition.  The  cities  which  had  preserved  municipal 
institutions  invoked  old  and  unappreciated  rights ;  and  in  others 
corporations  were  formed ;  the  workmen  organized  a  militia,  fortified 
their  walls,  and  guarded  the  gates.  Acts  of  great  injustice  caused 
resentment,  which  had  been  too  long  repressed,  to  break  out,  and 
commotions,  which  were  scarcely  recognized,  presaged  the  revolu- 
tions which  in  the  following  century  brought  the   enfranchisements 

987-1108]  HENEY  I.  147 

of  the  towns.  The  inexhaustible  charity  of  Robert  only  afforded  an 
almost  imperceptible  relief  for  the  misfortunes  of  his  people,  not  rich 
enough  to  remove  their  wretchedness,  and  too  weak  to  put  down  their 
oppressors.  He  died  in  1031,  lamented  by  the  wretched  and  regretted 
by  the  clergy,  leaving  his  kingdom  augmented  by  the  duchy  of  Bur- 
gundy,* which  he  had  united  to  it  in  1002,  on  the  death  of  his  uncle, 
Henry  the  Great.  During  his  reign  a  wise  and  learned  Frenchman 
succeeded  Gregory  V.  on  the  pontifical  throne,  and  renewed  the 
alliance  between  the  holy  see  and  the  house  of  Capet.  This  was  the 
illustrious  Gerbert,  who  derived  from  the  Moors  and  the  nourishing 
schools  of  Cordova  all  the  secrets  of  the  sciences  then  known :  he 
studied  belles-lettres  and  algebra,  learned  the  art  of  clock-making, 
and  passed  in  the  eyes  of  his  admiring  contemporaries  for  a  magician. 
First  preceptor  of  the  sons  of  the  Emperor  Otho,  then  Archbishop  of 
Rheims  and  afterwards  of  Ravenna,  he  eventually  became  Pope,  under 
the  name  of  Sylvester  II.,  and  exercised  the  triple  authority  of  the 
pontificate,  of  learning,  and  of  genius. 

.  HENEY   I. 

Heney  I.,  the  son  and  successor  of  Robert,  had,  at  the  commencement 
of  his  reign,  to  sustain  a  family  war  against  his  mother,  Constance, 
who  raised  her  young  brother  Robert  to  the  throne.  The  Church 
declared  for  Henry ;  and  the  celebrated  Robert  the  Magnificent,  Duke 
of  the  Normans,  lent  him  the  aid  of  his  sword,  and  placed  the  crown 
more  firmly  on  his  head.  Henry  vanquished  his  brother,  forgave  him, 
and  granted  him  the  duchy  of  Burgundy,  the  first  Capetian  house  of 
which  was  founded  by  Robert.  A  famine,  during  this  reign,  com- 
mitted such  fearful  ravages  in  Gaul,  that  at  several  places  men  were 
seen  devouring  one  another.  After  this  plague,  troops  of  wolves 
devastated  the  country  ;  and  the  feudal  lords,  more  terrible  than  the 
wild  beasts,  continued  their  barbarous  wars  amid  the  universal  desola- 
tion :  the  clergy  scarce  able  to  induce  them  to  suspend  their  fury  by 

*  The  duchy  of  Burgundy,  which  must  not  be  confounded  with  the  transjuran  and 
cisjuran  kingdoms  of  Burgundy,  comprised  Burgundy  proper.  From  884  to  1001  this 
duchy  belonged  to  princes  allied  to  the  family  of  Robert  the  Strong,  among  whom  was 
Eaoul,  King  of  France.  Henry  the  Gfreat,  brother  of  Hugues  Capet,  was  the  last  mem- 
ber of  this  ducal  branch ;  and  from  1001  to  1032  his  states  remained  annexed  to  the 
kingdom  of  France. 

L   2 

148  THE    TRUCE    OF    GOD.  [BOOK  I.    CHAP.  II. 

threatening  the  judgments  of  Heaven,  and  by  asserting  a  multitude  of 
miracles.  At  length,  the  councils  ordered  all  to  lay  down  their  arms  : 
they  published,  in  1035,  the  Peace  of  God,  and  menaced  with  excom- 
munication those  who  violated  so  holy  a  law.  When  in  each  province 
a  council  had  established  this  peace,  a  deacon  announced  the  fact  to 
the  people  assembled  in  the  churches  ;  and  after  reading  the  Gospel, 
he  went  up  into  the  pulpit,  and  uttered  the  following  malediction 
against  all  who  infringed  the  peace :  "  May  they  be  accursed,  they, 
and  those  who  assist  them  to  do  evil !  may  their  arms  and  their 
horses  be  accursed !  may  they  be  allotted  a  place  with  Cain,  the 
fratricide,  the  traitor  Judas,  and  Dathan  and  Abiram,  who  entered 
alive  into  hell !  and  may  their  joy  be  extinguished  at  the  aspect  of  the 
holy  angels,  just  as  these  torches  are- extinguished  before  your  eyes  !  " 
At  these  words,  all  the  priests,  who  held  lighted  torches  in  their 
hands,  turned  them  against  the  ground,  and  extinguished  them ;  while 
the  people,  struck  with  horror,  repeated,  in  one  voice,  "  May  God 
thus  extinguish  the  joy  of  those  who  will  not  accept  peace  and 
justice  !  " 

But  passions  were  too  impetuous,  ambitions  too  indomitable,  for 
the  evil  to  be  thus  totally  uprooted.  The  "Peace  of  God  "  multiplied 
the  sacrilege  without  diminishing  the  number  of  assassinations.  Five 
years  later,  another  law,  known  as  the  Truce  of  God,  was  substituted 
for  it.  The  councils  that  proclaimed  this  new  peace  no  longer  at- 
tempted to  arrest  the  working  of  all  human  passions ;  but  tried  to 
regulate  and  subject  war  to  the  laws  of  honour  and  humanity.  An 
appeal  to  force  was  no  longer  prohibited  to  those  who  could  invoke  no 
other  law  ;  but  the  employment  of  this  force  was  subjected  to  wise  and 
salutary  restrictions.  From  sunset  on  Wednesday  until  sunrise  on 
Monday,  as  well  as  on  festival  and  fast  days,  military  attack  and  the 
effusion  of  blood  were  prohibited,  and  a  perpetual  safeguard  was 
granted  to  the  churches,  and  to  unarmed  clerks  and  monks  :  the  pro- 
tection of  the  truce  extended  to  the  peasants,  flocks,  and  instruments 
of  labour.  This  wise  and  beneficent  lav/,  which  was  first  promulgated 
in  Aquitaine,  was  adopted  throughout  nearly  the  whole  of  Gaul, 
where  the  nobles  swore  to  observe  it,  and  although  it  was  frequently 
violated,  and  fell  too  soon  into  desuetude,  it  was  a  great  benefit  to 
the  nation,  whose  manners  it  softened,  and  was  the  noblest  work  of 

987-1108]  PHILIP  i.  149 

the  clergy  in  the  middle  ages.  The  rumour  was  propagated  that  a 
horrible  disease,  called  the  "  sacred  fire,"  was  inflicted  upon  all  who 
broke  the  "  Truce  of  God."  The  weak  King  Henry,  through  an  insen- 
sate pride,  was  almost  the  only  one  who  in  his  states  refused  to 
recognize  the  Truce,  under  the  pretext  that  the  clergy  encroached 
upon  his  authority  by  attempting  to  establish  it. 

This  king  has  left  no  honourable  recollection  in  history.  It  is  said 
that,  fearing  lest  he  might  unconsciously  marry  a  woman  related  to 
him  by  blood,  he  sought  a  wife  at  the  extremity  of  Europe,  and  that 
this  motive  led  him  to  choose  as  his  third  wife  the  Princess  Anne, 
daughter  of  Jaroslas,  Grand  Duke  of  Russia. #  He  had  three  sons 
by  this  marriage,  the  eldest  of  whom,  Philip,f  he  caused  to  be  crowned 
during  his  life.  Henry  I.  carried  on  an  unsuccessful  war  against  his 
vassal,  William  the  Bastard,  Duke  of  Normandy,  and  died  in  1060, 
after  a  reign  of  twenty-nine  years. 


Philip,  at  the  age  of  eight  years,  succeeded  his  father  under  the 
guardianship  of  Baldwin  V.,  Count  of  Flanders.  The  great  event  of 
his  reign,  and  with  which  he  was  entirely  unconnected,  was  the  con- 
quest of  England. 

The  Norman  knights  were  distinguished  from  all  others  by  their 
immoderate  desire  for  martial  adventure,  and  by  their  brilliant 
exploits.  Some  of  them,  who  had  landed  sixty  years  previously  as 
pilgrims  on  the  southern  coast  of  Italy,  aided  the  inhabitants  of 
Salerno  to  repulse  a  Saracen  army  of  besiegers.  Animated  by  the 
success  of  their  countrymen,  the  sons  of  a  simple  gentleman,  Tancred 
of  Hauteville,  followed  by  a  band  of  adventurers,  conquered  the  pro- 
vince of  Apulia  from  the  Greeks,  the  Lombards,  and  the  Arabs,  and 
sustained  successfully  an  equal  struggle  against  the  Emperors  of 
Germany  and  Byzantium.      They  took  prisoner    the  German  Pope, 

*  The  Russian  nation,  which  had  only  been  converted  to  Christianity  for  a  century, 
was  composed  of  almost  savage  tribes  scattered  over  an  immense  territory.  Still,  its  two 
capitals,  Kief  and  Novogorod,  already  contained  the  germs  of  a  highly  advanced 

•f  It  has  been  asserted  that  this  name,  which  appears  for  the  first  time  in  the  history  of 
France,  originated  in  a  presumed  connection  between  the  Princess  Anne  and  Philip  of 
Macedon,  father  of  Alexander  the  Great. 

150  CONQUESTS    OF   THE    NORMANS.  [Book  I.  Chap.II. 

Leo  IX.,  who  was  devoted  to  tlie  family  of  the  Emperor  Henry  III., 
and  hiimbliiig  themselves  before  their  captive,  they  obtained  leave  to 
retain  their  conquest  as  a  fief  of  the  Church.  Robert  Guiscard  com- 
pleted the  subjugation  of  Apulia  and  Calabria,  and  his  brother 
Roger  conquered  Sicily :  it  was  thus  that  the  kingdom  of  the  two 
Sicilies  was  founded  in  1052  by  the  Normans,  and  the  Pope  became 
its  suzerain. 

Nothing  was  talked  of  in  Europe  but  the  valour  of  the  Normans ; 
and  when  "William  the  Bastard,  Duke  of  Normandy,  and  son  of 
Robert  the  Magnificent,  collected  an  army  to  conquer  England,  war- 
riors flocked  beneath  his  banners  from  all  sides,  full  of  confidence 
in  his  fortune.  Great  Britain,  or  England,  which  had  been  for  several 
centuries  subject  to  the  Saxons,  obeyed  at  this  time  King  Harold, 
successor  of  Edward,  surnamed  the  Confessor.  A  tempest  had  cast 
Harold,  before  he  became  king,  on  the  coast  of  Normandy,  and  he 
was  delivered  up  to  Duke  William,  in  accordance  with  the  custom  of 
the  times,  shipwrecked  men  being  regarded  as  abandoned  by  the  judg- 
ment of  Heaven  to  the  lord  of  the  coast  on  which  the  tempest  drove 
them,  who  could  keep  them  captive,  and  even  put  them  to  torture, 
in  order  to  obtain  a  ransom.  William,  when  master  of  Harold's 
person,  made  him  swear  that  he  would  help  him,  after  the  death  of 
Edward,  to  obtain  the  kingdom  of  England ;  but  Harold  did  not 
afterwards  consider  himself  bound  by  an  oath  which  had  been  extorted 
by  violence.  When,  therefore,  the  throne  of  England  became  vacant, 
and  Harold,  succeeding  to  it,  had  been  crowned,  William  reminded 
Harold  of  his  promise,  and  appealed  to  a  true  or  false  will  of  Edward 
the  Confessor  in  support  of  his  claim,  declaring  at  the  same  time  that 
he  would  leave  the  matter  to  the  decision  of  the  Church.  A  consistory 
held  at  the  Lateran  pronounced  in  his  favour,  and,  on  the  instigation 
of  the  monk  Hildebrand,  adjudged  England  to  him,  by  sending  him, 
together  with  a  consecrated  standard,  the  diploma  of  sovereign  of  that 
country.  A  great  battle,  fought  in  1066  near  Hastings,  between  the 
rivals  to  the  English  crown,  decided  the  war.  Harold  lost  his  life  in  it, 
and  England,  after  an  obstinate  contest,  became  a  conquest  of  the  Nor- 
mans. William  distributed  all  the  estates  as  fiefs  to  his  knights ;  and 
from  this  time  feudalism  spread  over  this  country  the  net- work  with 
which  it  already  covered  France,  Germany,  and  Italy.  A  few  years  after- 

987-1108]  THE    MONK    HILDEBRAND.  151 

wards  a  prince  of  the  house*  of  France,  Henry  of  Burgundy,  founded 
the  kingdom  of  Portugal,  after  a  long  series  of  victories  gained  oyer 
the  infidels.  These  great  events  inflamed  minds,  and  disposed  the 
nations  for  adventurous  expeditions  in  remote  countries :  they  were 
the  precursors  of  the  crusades,  or  wars  undertaken  for  the  deliverance 
of  the  Holy  Land. 

A  revolution,  of  which  the  celebrated  Hildebrand  was  the  principal 
author,  was  at  this  time  accomplished  in  the  Church.  The  tenth  cen- 
tury more  especially  had  been  for  her  a  period  of  desolation ;  the  see 
of  St.  Peter  had  become  the  prey  of  intrigue  and  violence  :  and  these 
disorders  were  not  the  only  evils  that  afflicted  the  Church.  Prom  the 
time  the  clergy,  in  order  to  defend  their  domains,  had  hastened  to 
enter  the  feudal  hierarchy,  they  had  been  bound  down  by  the  autho- 
rity of  the  princes  and  their  great  vassals.  Nearly  all  the  bishops  of 
Prance  held  fiefs  of  the  crown,  and  in  the  course  of  the  eleventh  cen- 
tury there  was  an  odious  traffic  in  ecclesiastical  lands  and  dignities, 
which  were  not  given,  as  formerly,  to  the  most  worthy,  but  to  the 
highest  bidder.  The  Pope  himself,  who  at  that  epoch  was  chosen  by 
the  clergy  and  the  people,  was  constrained  to  demand  of  the  Emperor 
of  Germany,  as  successor  of  Charlemagne,  the  confirmation  of  his 
election,  and  the  Emperor  Henry  III.,  taking  advantage  of  the  intes- 
tine divisions  among  the  Romans,  claimed  the  sole  right  of  nominating 
and  appointing  the  successors  of  St.  Peter.  Such  was  the  situation  of 
the  Church  towards  the  middle  of  the  eleventh  century.  Nicholas  II., 
who  had  just  ascended  the  pontifical  seat,  had  as  councillor  a  monk 
who  felt  indignant  at  the  vices  of  the  ecclesiastics,  the  degrada- 
tion of  the  Church,  and  the  encroachments  of  the  temporal  power 
on  the  spiritual  authority.  This  monk,  this  man  so  celebrated  in 
religious  history,  was  Hildebrand.  He  resolved  to  deprive  the  feudal 
lords  of  every  species  of  influence  over  the  clergy,  to  strengthen  the 
ecclesiastical  hierarchy,  and  to  raise  the  Pope  above  the  kings  of  the 
earth,  hoping  thus  to  enable  the  Church  to  recover  her  efficiency,  her 
splendour,  and  all  her  power.  Such  a  prospect  of  universal  supremacy 
was,  in  the  age  of  Hildebrand,  a  conception  of  genius.  This  great 
man  had  consulted  the  spirit  of  his  age.  The  rights  of  humanity 
were  nowhere  respected ;  the  nations,  oppressed  by  a  thousand 
tyrants,  had  no  other  representatives,  and  no  other  natural  defenders, 

152  HILDEBRAND    CHOSEN    POPE.  [BookI.   Chap.  II. 

than  tlie  clergy.  Most  of  the  members  of  this  order  come  from  the 
lower  classes ;  and  ecclesiastical  dignities,  and  even  the  tiara  itself, 
were  often  bestowed  on  men  of  the  most  obscure  birth ;  so  that  the 
voice  of  the  Church  combating  the  temporal  power  might,  to  some 
extent,  be  regarded  as  the  energetic  protest  of  the  people  against  their 
oppressors.  There  was  merit  and  grandeur,  under  the  feudal  des- 
potism, in  determining  to  regenerate  the  world  on  a  Christian  basis, 
by  giving  it  as  guide  the  man  who  was  universally  recognized  as  the 
visible  chief  of  Christianity.  Hildebrand's  honour  consists  in  having 
re- animated  religious  enthusiasm  by  attempting  to  enfranchise  the 
spiritual  authority  of  the  Church  from  all  temporal  servitude  ;  his 
error  consisted  in  having  listened  too  much  to  his  own  ambition,  in 
attempting  to  render  the  political  government  of  the  princes  subser- 
vient to  the  ecclesiastical  authority. 

Many  priests  and  bishops  contracted,  by  marriage,  ties  which  ren- 
dered them  dependent  on  the  princes.  Nicholas  broke  those  ties  :  he 
forbade  the  marriage  of  priests,  and  severely  punished  monks  living 
in  a  state  of  concubinage. 

Hildebrand  was  chosen  in  1073,  by  the  people  and  clergy  of  Rome, 
as  the  successor  of  Pope  Alexander  III.  At  first,  he  deferentially  asked 
his  confirmation  of  the  Emperor  Henry  IY.,  and  when  he  had  obtained 
it,  he  displayed  under  the  name  of  Gregory  VII.  his  vast  and  haughty 
genius  and  his  inflexible  character.  He  withdrew  the  nomination  of 
the  Popes  from  the  influence  of  the  Emperors  by  establishing  the  Col- 
lege of  Cardinals,  specially  entrusted  with  the  election  of  the  Pontiff: 
he  renewed  the  bull  condemning  the  marriage  of  priests  ;  he  prohi- 
bited emperors,  kings,  and  the  great  vassals  from  giving  ecclesiastical 
investitures  to  bishops  ;  and,  finally,  he  published  the  famous  decretals 
known  by  the  name  of  Dictatus  J?apce,  in  which  he  placed  among  the 
papal  privileges  those  of  deposing  emperors,  of  making  monarchs  kiss 
his  feet,  of  judging  without  appeal,  and  of  being  made  holy  by  the 
mere  fact  of  ordination. 

Philip  I.,  King  of  Prance,  and  Henry  IV.,  Emperor  of  Germany, 
were  both  leading  at  this  time  a  life  full  of  scandal  and  violence  ; 
and  in  order  to  supply  their  unbounded  extravagance,  they  carried  on, 
in  defiance  of  Gregory's  prohibition,  the  most  disgraceful  traffic  in 
Church  endowments.      The  indignant  Pontiff  threatened  Philip  with 

987-1108]  DEATH    OF   GEEGOEY   VII.  153 

excommunication,  and  laid  it  upon  the  Emperor.  An  obstinate  war 
began  between  them,  which  is  known  in  history  by  the  name  of  "  The 
War  of  Investitures,"  because  the  Pope  maintained  by  it  his  prohibition 
of  princes  investing  bishops,  and  reserved  that  right  solely  for  himself. 
In  this  celebrated  war  the  principal  allies  of  the  Pontiff  were  the 
Normans  of  Apulia  and  Sicily,  and  the  Countess  Matilda,  sovereign  of 
Tuscany.  Gregory  VII.  liberated  the  subjects  of  Henry  from  the 
oath  of  allegiance  ;  and  the  Emperor,  abandoned  by  them,  found  him- 
self reduced  to  implore  pardon  of  his  haughty  victor :  he  presented 
himself  as  a  suppliant  in  the  month  of  January,  1077,  at  the  Castle  of 
Canossa,  the  residence  of  the  Pope,  who  insulted  his  misfortune,  and, 
before  granting  absolution  to  him,  compelled  the  Emperor  to  remain 
for  three  days  and  nights  in  a  court  of  the  palace,  exposed  to  the 
severe  cold,  with  his  bare  feet  in  the  snow.  At  length  he  deigned  to 
absolve  him.  But  so  many  outrages  had  revolted  the  crowned  heads 
and  moved  the  partisans  of  the  Emperor  with  indignation.  Henry  IY. 
avenged  himself,  and  Gregory  VII.  died  in  exile.  The  colossal  edifice 
raised  by  this  Pontiff  did  not  perish  with  him ;  his  successors  con- 
solidated it  amid  terrible  upheavals  in  the  Empire  and  the  Church : 
he  had  founded  the  universal  monarchy  of  the  Popes  on  a  durable 
basis,  on  the  ruling  spirit  of  his  age,  and  this  supremacy  attained  one 
hundred  years  afterwards  its  culminating  point.  The  Crusades  con- 
tributed greatly  to  its  consolidation ;  Gregory  conceived  the  idea,  but 
it  was  not  given  to  him  to  see  its  accomplishment :  the  first  of  those 
memorable  events  had  its  origin  in  the  time  of  Philip  I.,  and  under  the 
Pontificate  of  Urban  II. 

Palestine,  or  the  Holy  Land,  held  for  many  ages  by  the  Mussulmans, 
had  been  one  of  the  first  victories  of  the  disciples  of  Mahomet,  and 
henceforward  the  subjugation  of  that  country  had  been  a  theme  of 
indignation  and  sorrow  to  Christendom.  It  was  believed  that  an 
especial  sanctity  was  attached  to  the  places  where  Christ  had  suffered 
death  for  mankind,  and  where  his  tomb  was  yet  to  be  seen.  The  pil- 
grimage to  Jerusalem  was  regarded  as  the  most  effectual  means  for  the 
expiation  of  sins ;  and  great  numbers  of  pilgrims  journeyed,  alone  or 
in  bands,  to  Palestine,  to  pray  at  the  tomb  of  the  Saviour.  Already 
adventurous  knights,  after  seeking  through  Europe  new  fields  for  their 
valour,  had  carried  defiance  to  the  Mussulman ;  but  most  of  these  had 

154  PETER  THE   HEEMIT.  [Book  I.    Chap.  II. 

been  slain,  only  a  few  returned  to  Europe,  where  the  recital  of  their 
perils,  and  of  their  glorious  deeds  of  arms,  filled  every  soul  with  an 
ardent  and  pious  emulation. 

Such  was  the  public  disposition  of  feeling,  when  an  enthusiast,  known 
as  Peter  the  Hermit,  quitted  the  town  of  Amiens,  his  native  place, 
to  make  a  pilgrimage  to  Jerusalem.  The  sight  of  the  holy  places 
excited  to  the  highest  degree  his  pious  fervour  :  he  returned  to  Europe 
and  repaired  to  Italy.  There  he  exhorted  Pope  Urban  II.  to  place 
himself  at  the  head  of  the  nations  of  Europe,  conjoined  for  the 
deliverance  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre,  and  the  rescue  of  the  bones  of  the 
Saints  from  the  hands  of  the  Mussulmans. 

He  won  over  the  Pontiff  to  his  views,  and  received  from  him  letters 
to  all  the  Christian  princes,  with  the  mission  of  stimulating  them  to 
this  holy  enterprise.  Peter  travelled  throughout  Europe  ;  he  inflamed 
the  imagination  of  the  nobles  and  the  people,  he  preached  to  them 
salvation,  and  promised  them  Paradise  if  they  would  go  to  Palestine. 
Two  years  later,  in  1095,  a  council,  convoked  by  Urban,  assembled  at 
Clermont,  in  Auvergne.  A  prodigious  number  of  princes  and  nobles 
of  all  ranks  flocked  thither,  and  three  hundred  and  ten  bishops  sup- 
ported the  solemnity  under  the  presidency  of  the  Pope  himself.  After 
having  decided  clerical  affairs,  Urban  drew  a  pathetic  picture  of  the 
desolation  of  the  holy  shrines,  he  lamented  bitterly  the  afflictions 
suffered  by  the  Christians  of  Palestine,  and  the  listening  throng  burst 
into  sobs  and  tears. 

The  Pontiff  next  recounted  the  audacity  and  insolence  of  the 
enemies  of  Christ,  and,  indignant  at  such  outrages,  exclaimed  in  the 
tone  of  inspiration :  "  Enrol  yourselves  under  the  banners  of  God ; 
advance,  sword  in  hand,  like  true  children  of  Israel,  into  the  Land  of 
Promise ;  charge  boldly,  and  doubt  not  that,  opening  a  path  through 
the  armies  of  the  infidels  and  the  numbers  of  their  host,  the  Cross 
will  ever  be  victorious  for  the  Crusader.  Make  yourselves  masters  of 
those  fertile  lands  which  infidels  have  usurped ;  drive  out  thence  heresy 
and  impiety ;  in  short,  make  their  land  to  produce  palms  only  for  you, 
and  out  of  their  spoils  raise  magnificent  trophies  to  Griory,  Religion, 
and  the  French  nation." 

At  these  words  the  transport  was  general,  his  hearers  quivered  with 
indignation,   and  impatiently   desired   to   arm  at  once  —  at  once  to 


987-1108]  THE    FIRST   CRUSADE.  155 

depart : — "  Let  us  go,"  said  the  whole  assembly:  "  it  is  the  will  of  God  ! 
it  is  the  will  of  God  !  " 

"Go  then,"  replied  the  Pontiff:  "  go,  brave  champions  of  Jesus 
Christ,  avenge  His  wrong ;  and,  since  all  together  have  cried,  '  It 
is  the  will  of  God ! '  let  those  words  be  the  battle-cry  of  your  holy 

The  distinctive  sign,  common  to  all  these  warriors,  was  a  cross  of  red 
cloth  worn  on  the  right  shoulder,  and  from  this  was  derived  the  word 
"  Crusade.''''  The  princes  and  nobles  received  such  crosses  from  the 
hands  of  the  Pope ;  the  people  came  in  a  crowd,  and  the  cardinals  and 
bishops  distributed  them  with  their  benedictions :  to  take  the  Cross 
was  to  vow  to  make  the  sacred  journey. 

The  Crusaders  separated  to  prepare  for  departure  and  to  communicate 
to  all  their  pious  ardour.  The  general  meeting  of  the  ardent  host  was 
fixed  for  the  spring  of  the  following  year.  The  enthusiasm  extended 
to  every  class,  each  one  desired  to  merit  salvation  by  devoting  himself 
to  a  desperate  undertaking,  by  essaying  an  adventurous  life  in  unknown 
lands.  An  immense  number  of  serfs,  peasants,  homeless  wanderers, 
and  even  women  and  children,  assembled  together,  and  their  impatience 
could  brook  neither  obstacles  nor  delays ;  they  divided  into  two  bands, 
led,  the  one  by  Peter  the  Hermit,  the  other  by  a  knight  named  "  "Walter 
the  Moneyless."  Their  fanatic  zeal  displayed  itself  on  the  way  by 
a  general  massacre  of  the  Jews.  They  devastated  for  their  support 
the  countries  which  they  passed  through,  raising  up  in  arms  against 
themselves  the  outraged  populations ;  and  almost  all  perished  of  famine, 
fatigue,  and  misery  before  reaching  the  Holy  Land. 

Notwithstanding,  the  flower  of  European  chivalry  took  up  arms  for 
the  Cross,  the  nobles  pawned  their  property  to  defray  the  expenses 
of  the  enterprise  ;  they  divided  themselves  into  three  formidable 
armies :  the  first  was  commanded  by  Robert  Curt-Hose,  son  of 
William  the  Conqueror,  the  second  by  Godfrey  de  Bouillon,  the  hero 
of  his  age,  the  third  and  last  marched  under  the  banner  of  the  Count 
of  Toulouse,  Raymond  de  Saint- Gilles.  Godfrey  was  proclaimed 
commander-in-chief;  ten  thousand  knights  followed  him  with  seventy 
thousand  men  on  foot  from  France,  Lorraine,  and  Germany  ;  the 
general  muster  was  at  Constantinople,  where  reigned  Alexis  Com- 
nenus.     This  Emperor  received  them  with  discourtesy,  and  hastened 

156  DEATH    OP   WILLIAM    THE    CONQUEROR.  [Book  I.  CHAP.  II. 

to  give  them  vessels  to  cross  the  Bosphorus,  after  having  cunningly 
obtained  from  them  the  oath  of  homage  for  their  future  conquests. 
The  Crusaders  first  possessed  themselves  of  Mcea,  then  of  Antioch, 
through  sanguinary  struggles,  and  at  length  achieved  the  conquest  of 

In  1099,  a  Christian  kingdom  was  founded  in  Palestine  :  Godfrey  de 
Bouillon  was  its  recognized  king,  but  contented  himself  with  the  title  of 
"Baron  of  the  Holy  Sepulchre."  Feudalism  was  organized  in  the 
East ;  three  great  fiefs  of  the  crown  of  Jerusalem  were  created  :  there 
were  the  principalities  of  Antioch  and  Edessa,  and  the  Earldom  of 
Tripoli ;  they  had  a  Marquis  of  Jaffa,  a  Prince  of  Galilee,  a  Baron  of 
Sidon,  and  the  name  of  "  Franks "  became  in  Asia  an  appellation 
common  to  all  Eastern  Christians:  Such  were  the  principal  facts  of 
that  first  and  celebrated  Crusade.  There  only  returned  to  Europe 
one- tenth  of  the  number  who  quitted  it. 

Philip  I.  did  not  associate  himself  with  that  expedition.  He  took 
no  part  in  the  great  enterprises  which  signalized  the  age  in  which  he 
lived,  and  his  reign  offers  nothing  worthy  of  record.  In  10 72,  the 
widow  of  his  tutor,  Baldwin,  Count  of  Flanders,  having  been  deposed 
by  her  son  Robert  le  Trison,  had  recourse  to  Philip  ;  the  king  took  up 
arms  for  her,  marched  against  Robert,  and  suffered  an  ignominious 
defeat  before  Cassel.  He  also  carried  on  a  war  for  twelve  years  against 
William  the  Conqueror,  which  was  not  marked  by  any  memorable 
event.  William  gained  over  the  councillors  and  partisans  of  Philip 
by  offering  them  the  bribe  of  large  estates  in  England.  Philip,  on  his 
side,  promised  protection  to  all  the  Norman  malcontents,  and  espoused 
the  cause  of  Robert,  eldest  son  of  William,  in  rebellion  against  his 
father.  After  a  truce,  and  during  an  illness  of  the  duke,  he  derided 
him  on  account  of  his  excessive  stoutness,  asking  when  he  expected 
his  accouchement.  William  heard  of  it,  and  furious,  swore  that  at  his 
"  churching  "  he  would  send  him  ten  thousand  lances  in  place  of 
tapers.  He  assembled  a  formidable  army,  and  carried  fire  and  sword 
through  Philip's  dominions,  but  at  the  sack  of  Mantes  his  horse 
stumbled,  and  the  rider  was  wounded  in  the  fall.  They  carried 
William  in  a  dying  condition  to  Rouen,  where  he  expired  in  1087.  He 
was  scarcely  dead  when  the  nobles  who  surrounded  him  left  hastily  for 
their  castles ;  his  servants  pillaged  his  valuables,  carried  off  even  the 

987-11081  DEATH    OF   PHILIP   1.  157 

funeral  bed,  and  left  the  naked  body  of  the  Conqueror  on  the  floor.  A 
poor  knight  found  it  in  that  condition,  and  touched  by  compassion 
undertook  the  care  of  the  funeral  rites  for  the  love  of  God  and  the 
honour  of  his  nation.  The  body  was  put  into  a  coffin  at  his  expense  and 
transported  to  Caen,  where  it  was  to  be  buried  in  a  church  founded  by 
William  himself.  At  the  moment  when  the  funeral  oration  was  being 
pronounced,  and  the  body  about  to  be  lowered  into  the  grave,  a  Norman 
named  Asseline  advanced,  and  said  : — "  This  ground  belongs  to  me  ; 
that  man  whose  eulogy  you  are  pronouncing  robbed  me  of  it.  Here, 
even  here,  stood  my  paternal  mansion ;  this  man  seized  it  against  all 
justice,  and  without  paying  the  price  of  it.  In  the  name  of  God,  I 
forbid  you  to  cover  the  body  of  the  plunderer  with  earth  that  belongs 
to  me." 

Notable  example  of  the  vanity  of  an  existence  which  offers  the  most 
singular  mixture  of  grandeur  and  iniquity,  of  violent  barbarities  and 
useful  and  fruitful  creations !  This  William,  the  conqueror  of  a  great 
kingdom,  who  had  grasped  immense  domains  in  a  strange  country,  only 
obtained  through  pity  a  grave  upon  his  native  soil ;  those  who  assisted 
at  his  burial  were  obliged  to  put  down  the  price  of  it  on  his  coffin. 
None  of  his  three  sons  paid  him  the  last  duties,  but  they  made 
furious  war  over  his  heritage ;  William  Rufus  succeeded  him  in 
England,  and  ended  by  seizing  upon  Normandy,  while  Robert  was 
fighting  in  Palestine. 

The  death  of  the  redoubtable  William  was  a  great  source  of  joy  to 
Philip,  and  allowed  him  to  continue  his  indolent  and  scandalous  career. 
He  had  married  Bertha,  the  daughter  of  Count  Plorent  of  Holland  ;  he 
left  and  imprisoned  her  ;  afterwards  he  carried  off  Bertrade,  the  wife 
of  Foulque  le  Rechin,  Count  of  Anjou,  and  married  her.  Pope  Urban 
ordered  the  dissolution  of  this  marriage,  and  on  the  refusal  of  Philip, 
a  council,  assembled  at  Autun  in  1094,  sentenced  him  to  excommunica- 
tion. Philip  was  not  permitted  to  carry  longer  the  outward  marks  of 
royalty  :  he  was  afflicted  with  grievous  infirmities,  in  which  he  recog- 
nized the  hand  of  God;  at  length,  in  the  year  1100,  he  associated 
his  son  Louis  with  himself  in  the  kingdom,  and  reigned  only  in  name. 
A  dreadful  fear  of  hell  seized  him ;  he  renounced  through  humility  the 
regal  privilege  of  being  interred  in  the  tomb  of  the  kings  at  St.  Denis, 
and  died  in  1108  in  the  habit  of  a  Benedictine  friar. 

1-58  THE    SEVEN    GEEAT    FIEFS.  [BOOK  I.  CHAP.  II. 

The  extent  of  the  royal  possessions,  properly  speaking,  varied  little 
under  the  first  Capets  :  its  limits  were  those  of  the  ancient  duchy  of 
France.  The  authority  of  the  King  was  not  exercised  freely  and 
directly,  except  in  his  quality  of  Duke  of  France,  and  only  in  some  of 
the  cities  of  that  duchy  ;  and  between  these  even  the  communications 
were  difficult.  The  great  fiefs  of  the  crown  to  the  number  of  seven 
were  the  same  as  under  Hugh  Capet,  the  duchy  of  France,  to  the  pos- 
session of  which  the  royal  title  was  attached,  the  duchies  of  Normandy, 
of  Burgundy,  and  of  Guienne  or  Aquitaine,  and  the  baronies  of  Flan- 
ders, Champagne,  and  Toulouse  ;  to  these  great  states  must  be  added, 
beyond  the  Pyrenees,  the  barony  of  Barcelona.*  The  seven  great  fiefs 
held  each  in  their  tenure  inferior  fiefs,  of  whom  many  were  themselves 
very  considerable. 

The  duchy  of  France  had  for  its  principal  fiefs  the  baronies  of  Paris 
and  Orleans,  the  barony  of  Maine,  and  that  of  Anjou. 

From  the  duchy  of  Normandy  arose  the  barony  of  Britanny,  those 
of  Alencon,  Aumale,  Evreux,  Mortain,  and  many  other  great 

The  duchy  of  Burgundy  held  in  its  tenure  the  baronies  of  Bar, 
Nevers,  Charolais,  &c. 

Upon  the  vast  duchy  of  Guienne  or  Aquitaine  were  dependent  the 
duchy  of  Gascoigne,  the  baronies  of  Berry,  Poitiers,  Marche,  Angouleme, 
and  Perigord,  &c. 

The  barony  of  Flanders  comprised  Ponthieu,  Artois,  Hainault,  &c. 

The  barony  of  Champagne,  which  in  1019  annexed  the  vast 
possessions  of  the  counts  of  Vermandois,  comprised  under  its  tenure 
the  baronies  of  Meaux,  Troyes,  Blois,  Chartres,  Valois,  Rhethel,  &c. 

The  barony  of  Toulouse  comprised  within  itself  the  baronies  of 
Quercy  and  Romagne,  the  marquisate  of  Provence,  detached  from  the 
ancient  kingdom  of  Aries,  and  which  received  also  the  name  of  the 
barony  of  Venaissin.  The  Seven  Great  Fiefs  became  the  viscounty 
of  Narbonne,  &c. 

All  the  fiefs  of  the  lower  order  had  themselves  in  their  tenure  many 

*  Brittany  and  Anjou  have  often  "been  declared  as  being  fiefs  to  the  crown  under  the 
early  Capetian  kings.  This  is  an  error.  Brittany  was  directly  allied  to  the  duchy  of 
Normandy,  and  Anjou  to  the  duchy  of  France.  Philip  I.  received  direct  homage  from 
the  Count  of  Anjou,  not  as  King,  but  as  Duke  of  France. 

987-1108]  THE    FIEFS    OWNED    BY   THE    CLERGY.  159 

"  arriere  fiefs,"  which  mostly  consisted  of  "  vicomtes  des  villes," 
"baronnies,"  "  chatellenies,"  each  one  containing  parishes  or  villages  ; 
below  these  fiefs  we  find  those  of  simple  possessors  of  chateaux. 

The  clergy  possessed  of  itself  a  great  number  of  very  important 
fiefs.  The  archbishops  and  bishops  were  lords  of  the  city,  or  part  of 
the  city  where  their  seat  was  situated,  and  suzerains  of  many  con- 
siderable baronies  and  seigniories.  Many  abbots  at  length  were 
lords  of  the  cities  where  their  monastery  raised  its  head,  and  possessed 
also  other  seigniories.  The  abbots  of  St.  Germain,  of  St.  Genevieve, 
and  of  St.  Yictor,  were  each  one  suzerain  ofa"  quarter"  of  Paris.  The 
abbot  of  Fecamp  possessed  ten  baronies,  that  of  St.  Martin  de  Tours 
had  twenty  thousand  serfs  on  his  domains.  And  one  may  gain  an 
idea  of  the  immensity  of  the  ecclesiastical  possessions  in  the  twelfth 
century,  when  we  know  that  at  that  time  France  counted  about  2,000 
monasteries  on  her  soil. 

1G0  ACCESSION   OF   LOUIS   VI."  [Book  I.  Chap.  III. 





The   reign  of  Philip  I.   and  of  his  immediate  predecessors  had  been 
,         nothing;  but  one  long1*  anarchy  ;  vet  France  had  not  re- 

Accession  of  °  °  *    '    •> 

Loms  vi.  1108.  mained  stationary,  she  had  made  great  progress  at  the 
end  of  the  eleventh  century.  Her  cities  were  more  numerous,  more 
populous,  more  industrious.  Her  citizen  class  began  to  enfranchise 
itself,  and  defended  its  liberties  by  force  of  arms.  The  language  and 
poetry  of  France  arose ;  at  length,  the  clergy  encouraged  with  all  their 
power  the  progress  of  literary  and  scientific  instruction  ;  they  crowned 
v/ith  rewards  and  raised  to  the  highest  dignity  those  who  dis- 
tinguished themselves  by  their  learning ;  but  the  studies  of  this  age 
consisted  solely  of  subtle  discussions  on  logic  and  theology. 

The  earlier  of  the  Capetian  kings  had  remained  ignorant  of,  and 
almost  indifferent  to,  the  progress  of  France  under  their  rule,  and  had 
outwardly  exercised  no  personal  influence.  Louis  VI.,  nicknamed  at 
first  L'Eveille,  afterwards  Le  Grros  and  Le  Batailleur,  understood  best 
the  spirit  of  his  times.  He  was  the  first  knight  in  his  kingdom,  and  it 
was  with  casque  on  head  and  lance  in  rest  that  he  sought  and  won 
the  esteem  of  every  one.  His  personal  estates,  almost  confined  to  the 
cities  of  Paris,  Orleans,  Etamps,  Melun,  Compeigne  and  their  terri- 
tories, were  bordered  on  the  north  by  those  of  Robert  le  Jerosolymitain, 
Count  of  Flanders,  and  on  the  east  by  the  estates  of  Hugues  I.,  Count 
of  Champagne.  The  dominions  of  Thibaut,  Count  of  Meaux,  Chartres 
and  Blois,  and  those  of  Foulque  V.,  Count  of  Anjou  and  Touraine, 
closed  in  on  the  south  this  feeble  kingdom  of  France,  which  the  vast 
possessions  of  Henry  I.,  son  of  William  the  Conqueror,  King  of 
England  and  Duke  of  Normandy,  confined  on  the  west.     During  the 

1108-1179]  WAR   AGAINST   HIS    VASSALS.  1G1 

whole  of  his  life  Louis  liad  to  contend  with  these  powerful  enemies, 
of  whom  the  most  formidable   was  Henry  I.     After   a   aj_  *     ,     . 

J  Stnig-prle  ot 

preliminary  struggle,  unfruitful  in  any  important  result,  Louis vi.  against 
as  to  the  possession  of  the  Castle  of  Gisors,  he  em-  of  El)o'laud- 
braced  against  Henry  the  cause  of  his  nephew  William  Clinton,  the 
son  of  Robert  Curt-Hose,  and  dispossessed,  as  was  his  father,  of  the 
duchy  of  Normandy.  Louis  YI.  was  vanquished  at  the  battle  of 
Brennevilie,  fought  in  1119.  He  made  an  appeal  also  to  the  militia  of 
the  cities  and  of  the  Church,  and  found  them  disposed  to  second  him ; 
the  prelates  ordered  the  inferior  clergy  to  summon  their  parishioners 
to  arms,  and  these,  led  by  their  pastors,  ranged  themselves  under  the 
royal  standard,  and  entered  with  Louis  "VI.  into  Normandy,  where 
they  committed  great  ravages.  A  council  was  assembled  at  Bheims, 
under  the  presidency  of  Pope  Calixtus  II. ,  with  the  intention  of 
putting  an  end  to  this  ruinous  war.  Louis  presented  himself  there 
and  recited  his  grievances.  The  conditions  of  peace  were  decided 
by  the  council.  Henry  was  to  remain  in  possession  of  Normandy,  for 
which  his  son  should  render  homage  to  the  King  of  France. 

Besides  this  important  war,  Louis  le  Gros  sustained  an  almost 
incessant  contest  against  his  own  barons,  and  amongst   ,Tr         .    , 

o  '  o         War  against 

others  against  Thomas  de  Maries,  son  of  Enguerrand  de  lus  vassals- 
Coucy.  They  infested  like  brigands  the  roads  around  Paris  and 
Orleans,  pillaging  villages  and  destroying  the  traders.  The  King,  b}r 
force  of  arms,  reduced  a  great  number  of  them  to  obedience,  or  at 
least  rendered  them  powerless  for  evil,  thus  securing  public  safety  in 
his  dominions.  But  such  was  the  weakness  at  this  period  of  a  King  of 
France,  that  Philip  I.  had  all  his  life  vainly  endeavoured  to  seize  on 
the  castle  of  the  sire  de  Monthery,  six  leagues  from  the  capital.  This 
baron  was  stained  with  the  crime  of  brigandage,  and  very 're  doubtable. 
Louis  le  Gros  overcame  him  in  his  stronghold,  and  reunited  it  by  this 
change  of  owners  to  the  seigniory  of  his  territories. 

The  King  associated  his  elder  son  Philip  with  himself  in  the  govern- 
ment. This  young  prince,  who  gave  bright  promise,  was  killed  acci- 
dentally, and  the  King  substituted  for  him  his  second  son  Louis, 
surnamed  the  Young.     He  continued  without  success  his  war  against 

o  -  o 

Henry  I.,  who  died  in  1135.     A  sanguinary  struggle  ensued  for  the 
succession  to  that  prince's  crown  between   Stephen  of  Boulogne,  his, 


162  DEATH    OF   LOUIS   LE    GEOS.  [BOOK  I.  Chap.  III. 

nephew,  and  his  daughter  Margaret,  widow  of  the  Emperor  Henri  V., 
and  married  a  second  time  to  Geoffrey  Plantagenet,  Connt  of  Anjon, 
the  founder  of  the  celebrated  house  of  Plantagenet  which  reigned  so 
long  in  England.  William  X.,  the  powerful  Duke  of  Aquitaine  and 
Count  of  Poitou,  supported  the  pretensions  of  Geoffrey,  and  with  him 
carried  fire  and  sword  through  Normandy,  but  returned  covered  with 
the  maledictions  of  the  people.  William,  overcome  by  remorse,  under- 
Marriageof  took   a   pilgrimage    to    St.    James    of    Compostella,   jlu 

■withSEieanorUofS   Spain,  and  offered  his  daughter  Eleanor  to  Louis,  son  of 

quuame.  ^g  ]^ing  0f  France.     This   alliance  promised  to   double 

the  estates  of  the  King,  who  hastened  to  conclude  it ;  he  sent  his  son 
into  Aquitaine  with  a  brilliant  cortege,  and  the  marriage  was  cele- 
Death  of  brated  between  the  solemnisation  of  two  funerals  ; — that 

Louis  vi.  1137.  0f  William  X.,  who  sank  on  his  pilgrimage,  and  that 
of  Louis  le  Gtos,  who  died  the  same  year,  in  1137. 

We  observe  in  this  reign,  and  more  especially  after  the  battle  of 
Brenneville,  that  the  alliance  of  the  King  with  the  Church  and  with  the 
commons  of  the  kingdom  becomes  apparent.  The  support  of  the  King 
was  necessary  to  the  Church  and  the  rising  bourgeoisie,  to  enable  them 
to  resist  the  oppression  of  the  feudal  nobility.  It  was  to  this  com- 
munity of  interests  that  the  kings  of  France  owed  in  a  great  measure, 
firstly,  the  preservation  of  their  crown,  and  subsequently  their  influence 
and  their  conquests.  The  sanction,  accorded  by  Louis  "VI.  to  the 
enfranchisements  of  many  communes,  illustrated  the  spirit  of  his  reign.* 
Nevertheless  he  did  nothing  but  legitimize  revolutions  already  accom- 
plished, almost  always  sanctioning,  under  condition  of  a  pecuniary 
compensation,  arrangements  or  treaties  concluded  between  the  nobles 
and  bourgeoisie  ;  sometimes  even,  as  we  may  see  in  the  quarrel  between 
the  commune  of  Laon  with  its  bishop,  after  having  sold  to  the 
bourgeoisie  for  a  heavy  sum  certain  privileges,  he  would  receive  money 
from  their  seigneurs  for  permitting  the  latter  to  revoke  them.  On  this 
occasion  the  inhabitants 'of  the  village  revolted,  murdered  their  lord, 
their  bishop,  and  sought  the  support  of  the  renowned  Thomas  de  Maries, 
who  defended  them  for  some  time  against  the  King,  and  finished  by 
falling  with  them.  Louis  VI.  in  his  conduct  towards  the  bourgeoisie  of 
the  cities  was  in  no  way  actuated  by  zeal  for  the  public  liberty,  he  cared 

*  For  an  account  of  the  condition  of  the  commons  in  the  twelfth  century,  see  Chap.  VI. 

1108-1179]  ACCESSION   OP   LOUIS   VIJ".  163 

only  for  the  needs  of  his  treasury,  which  was  recruited  in  this  manner, 
and  for  the  interests  of  his  power,  which  continued  to  increase  up  to  the 
time  of  his  death,  especially  in  the  centre  of  France,  where  the  royal 
authority  had  before  him   been  almost    disregarded,  and  where   he 
caused  it  to  be  respected.     He  did  not  care  to  accord,  within  his  own 
dominions,  those  privileges  which  he  ratified  on   the   territories    of 
others,  and  we  can  recognize  in  him  neither  the  founder  of  the  liberties 
of  the  people,  nor  an  enemy  to  the   privileges  of  the  nobility.     An 
illustrious  man,  the  Abbe  Suger,  acquired  at  this  period        er  Abb-of 
a  reputation  as  a  statesman,  a  great  politician,   and  a   St- Dems- 
profound  scholar ;  he  obtained  by  his  individual  merit  the  celebrated 
abbacy  of  St.  Denis,  the  sanctuary  of  the  first  patron-saint  of  the 
kingdom,*  and  was  in  the  following  reign  charged  with  the  regency  of 
the  State. 


Louis  VII.,  surnamed  the  Young,  exhibited  on  ascending  the  throne 
a  spirit  as  warlike  as  his  father.     He  supported  Geoffrev    * 

r  rr  J     Accession  of 

Plantagenet  against  his  rival  Stephen,  and  aided  him  JjjStSthe 
to  conquer  Normandy,  for  which  Geoffrey  did  homage.  Youns> 1137- 
England  remained  to  Stephen,  who  recognized  the  son  of  Geoffrey  and 
Matilda  as  heir  to  his  crown.  Louis  kept  the  barons  and  the  clergy 
in  order  :  he  opposed  the  usurpations  of  Pope  Innocent  II.,  and  re- 
fused to  recognize  the  Archbishop  of  Bourges,  elected  by  that  Pontiff, 
"who  soon  laid  an  interdict  on  every  place  where  the  King  stayed. 
Louis  the  Young  was  the  fourth  Oapetian  King  thus  struck  at  by  the 
Holy  See.  No  family  had  shown  more  deference  towards  the  Court 
of  Home,  none  had  been  treated  by  her  with  more  rigour. 

The  most  memorable  event  of  this  reign  is  the  second  Crusade, 
preached  with  immense  success  by  Saint  Bernard,  Abbot  of  Clairvaux, 
and  commanded  by  the  King  in  person.  Louis  believed  that  he  had  a  great 
crime  to  expiate  :  in  a  war  with  Thibaut,  Count  of  Champagne,  his  sol- 

*  "  Montjoie  et  Saint  Denis  !"  was  for  a  lengthened  period  the  war-cry  of  the  French ; 
the  banner  tinder  which  the  vassals  of  the  abbey  fought  became  the  national  standard. 
Louis  the  Fat  and  his  successor  took  it  from  the  altar  on  which  it  reposed  when  setting 
forth  upon  an  expedition,  and  returned  it  thence  in  pomp  at  the  conclusion  of  the  war. 
It  bore  the  name  of  "  oriflamme,"  because  the  staff  was  covered  with  gold,  whilst  the 
edge  of  the  flag  was  cut  into  the  form  of  names. 

M  2 

164  SECOND    CRUSADE.  [Book  I.  ClIAP.  III. 

diers  liad  set  fire  to  the  church  of  Vitry,  and  thirteen  hundred  persons 
Mas=acre  of  perished  in  the  flames.    Terrified  at  this  frightful  disaster, 

7"  he  asked  for  absolution  from  the  Pope,  and  only  succeeded 

in  obtaining  it  from  Celestin  II.,  successor  to  Innocent.  It  effected 
but  little  towards  calming  his  conscience.  Edessa  in  Palestine  had 
succumbed  to  the  arms  of  the  Sultan  Zinghi.  Nothing  was  heard 
of  throughout  Christendom  but  the  fall  of  this  famous  city  and  the 
massacre  of  its  inhabitants ;  exclamations  of  fury  and  of  vengeance 
arose  on  all  sides.  France  was  the  first  to  be  convulsed  by  the  voice 
0       -,  „       ,       of  Saint  Bernard,  and  communicated  the  movement  to 

Second  Crusade,  ' 

1147*  Europe.     Louis  VII.  took  up  the  Cross,  and  asked  per- 

mission to  depart  from  Suger,  Abbot  of  Saint  Denis,  from  whom,  by 
a  singular  effect  of  the  feudal  system,  he  held  Vexin  in  fief,  and 
received  from  his  hands  the  oriflamme  ;  he  confided  to  him  the 
regency  of  the  kingdom  and  went  forth  on  his  journey  at  the  head 
of  a  hundred  thousand  French.  But  here  ended  his  reputation 
as  king  and  knight.  Conrad,  Emperor  of  Germany,  who  had  pre- 
ceded him  with  a  formidable  army,  was  treacherously  led  by  Greek 
guides  to  Asia  Minor  ;  his  troops  being  surprised  and  annihilated 
amongst  the  defiles  of  Lycaonia.  Louis  VII.  gathered  together 
the  remnants  of  the  host,  but  himself  lost  the  half  of  his  own  forces 
on  the  mountain  of  Laodicea.  He  fruitlessly  undertook  many  enter- 
prises, each  of  which  was  marked  by  a  disaster  ;  in  fine,  the  whole  of 
the  expedition  of  Louis  VII.  was  reduced,  as  far  as  he  was  concerned, 
to  a  pious  pilgrimage  to  the  Holy  Sepulchre.  He  returned  to  Europe 
wTith  the  Crusader  princes,  and  brought  back  with  him  only  a  few 
soldiers.     His  entire  host  had  been  annihilated. 

Louis  found  his  kingdom  at  peace,  indeed  almost  flourishing,  thanks 
to  the  wise  administration  of  the  great  and  modest  Suger.  But  the 
deplorable  result  of  that  Crusade,  for  which  he  had  laid  a  heavy  tax  on 
his  people,  had  destroyed  all  the  King's  popularity,  even  his  charactei' 
seemed  weakened  by  it,  and  from  that  time  history  sees  in  him  less  of 
the  king  than  of  the  monk.  Under  pretext  of  too  near  blood  relationship 
.  T     .     he   divorced  his   Queen,  Eleanor,  who,  thus  abandoned, 

Divorce  of  Louis  ^  ' 

o?a  rnitaiXan0r  £>ave  ner  nan(^  to  Henry  Plantagenet,  heir  to  the  crown 
1152,  of  England,  and  carried  to  him  her  dowry  of  Aquitaine, 

taken    away   from    France   by   this    fatal    divorce.      Louis  saw  with 

1108-1179]  RISE    OF    THOMAS    A   BECKET.  165 

emotion  the  half  of  his  territories  about  to  pass  to  his  rival,  and 
sought  in  vain  to  throw  obstacles  in  the  way  of  the  marriage.  The 
new  husband  of  Eleanor  succeeded  Stephen  on  the  throne  of  England, 
and  became  the  celebrated  Henry  II.  He  conquered  Ireland,  menaced 
Scotland,  and  showed  himself  on  the  Continent  the  most  redoubtable 
and  powerful  of  sovereigns.  He  possessed  in  France  Anjou,  Maine, 
Touraine,  Aquitaine,  and  Normandy.  He  professed  great  friendship 
toward  Louis  the  Young,  and  united  in  marriage  his  son,  seven  years 
of  age,  to  the  daughter  of  Louis,  still  in  her  cradle.  War  broke  out 
on  the  subject  of  the  dowry  of  this  princess,  and  suddenly  Louis 
obtained  a  powerful  auxiliary  in  the  clergy  of  England,  excited 
against  Henry  II.  by  the  famous  Thomas  a.  Becket,  Arch- 

Stvu^srle  between 

bishop  of  Canterbury.     This  prelate,  at  first  a  courtier,    Hemyand 

n   n        T7-.  n   T-i  -i  •  Thomas  a  Becket. 

afterwards  chancellor  of  the  King  of  England,  and  in- 
tended by  him  to  occupy,  as  his  creature,  the  first  episcopal  seat  of  his 
kingdom,  scarcely  found  himself  therein,  when  he  surrendered  the 
pleasures  of  the  court  for  the  austere  duties  which  he  regarded  as 
inseparable  from  his  new  position.  He  took  in  hand  and  maintained  to 
his  death  the  defence  of  the  cause  which  Gregory  VII.  had  defended  to 
the  last  extremity — that  of  the  spiritual  authority  as  opposed  to  the 
regal ;  and  while  Pope  Alexander  III.  barely  held  his  own  against  the 
anti-Pope  Victor,  and  against  the  powerful  Frederick  Barbarossa,  Em- 
peror of  Germany,  a  Becket  constituted  himself  in  the  West  the  most 
intrepid  champion  of  the  Church,  of  which  Henry  II.,  by  the  edict  of 
Clarendon,  violated  the  privileges  in  suppressing  ecclesiastical  tribunals 
and  the  benefit  of  clergy.  These  privileges  gave  rise,  no  doubt,  to  nume- 
rous abuses  and  insured  immunity  to  many  culprits,  but  such  were  the 
barbarous  ignorance  and  odious  corruption  of  the  lay  tribunals  in  the 
twelfth  century,  that  ecclesiastical  jurisdiction  alone  inspired  some 
confidence  in  the  people,  and  the  least  heavy  yoke  was  that  of  the 

A  Becket,  pursued  by  the  resentment  of  Henry  II.,  took  refuge  in 
France,  where  Louis  received  him  with  great  favour,  and  the  war  con- 
tinued between  the  two  kings  until  the  peace  of  Montmirail.  Thomas 
a  Becket  returned  to  England,  and  Henry  exclaimed  one  day  in  a 
transport  of  fury  :  "  Will  none  of  the  cowards  whom  I  support  rid  me 
of  this  priest?  "     These  words  were  heard  •  four  knights,  devoted  to 

166  DEATH   OF   THOMAS   A   BECKET.  [BookI.  ChAP.III. 

the  King,  assassinated  Thomas  a  Becket  at   the    foot  of     he    altar. 
Death  of  Thomas   There  was  an  universal  cry  of  malediction  throughout 

a  Becket  1172. 

the  Church  against  the  homicidal  monarch,  and  the 
martyred  and  canonized  prelate  became  more  baleful  to  Henry  II. 
after  his  death  than  he  had  ever  been  during  his  life.  Every  one 
turned  with  horror  from  the  King,  who,  to  appease  the  public  clamour, 
submitted  to  a  humiliating  penance.  Then  was  seen  the  most 
renowned  prince  in  Christendom  exhibiting  tokens  of  the  humblest 
contrition,  remaining  fasting  and  with  bare  feet  during  forty- eight 
hours  in  the  cathedral,  the  scene  of  the  murder,  and  submitting  to  be 
beaten  with  rods  by  the  clergy,  the  monks,  and  choristers  of  that  church. 

Henceforth  Henry  II.  enjoyed  no  more  quiet ;  his  wife  Eleanor, 
irritated  by  his  infidelities,  incited  his  three  sons  to  revolt  against  him, 
and  in  accordance  with  the  disgraceful  custom  of  the  times,  Louis  VII. 
supported  them  in  the  unholy  war.  They  rendered  him  homage  for 
Kormandy,  Aquitaine,  and  Brittany,  but  they  were  defeated  by  their 
father ;  the  two  kings  were  then  reconciled.  Louis  placed  the  crown 
on  the  head  of  his  son  Philip  Augustus,  and  made  a  pilgrimage  to 
the  tomb  of  Saint  Thomas  a  Becket ;  he  died  immediately  afterwards, 

th  f  L  i  leaving  the  reputation  of  being  a  devout  monarch,  full  of 
vii.,  1179-  reverence  for  the  secular  orders,  and  of  benevolence  to- 

wards his  subjects  ;  but  in  spite  of  all  his  grandeur  and  his  able  policy 
he  lived  too  long  for  his  own  glory  and  for  the  prosperity  of  France, 
which  lost  in  the  latter  part  of  his  reign  those  provinces  which  she 
had  acquired  in  the  beginning  of  it  by  his  marriage,  and  which  she 
never  finally  recovered  till  after  ages  of  warfare  and  disaster. 

During  the  lifetime  of  this  King,  the  Emperor  Frederick  Barbarossa 

commenced  against  the  cities  of  Lombardy  a  sanguinary  war,  which 

for  a  long  time  involved  Italy  in  bloodshed,  and  weakened  the  imperial 

power  while  increasing  the  influence  of  the  Sovereign  Pontiffs.     This 

famous  war  is  known  in  history  under  the  name  of  the 

War  of  the  J 

Gueiphs  and  the  wars  of  the  Gruelphs  and  the  Grhibellines  ;    the    former 

Ghibellines.  L 

were  supported  by  the  Emperor,  the  latter  were  the  par- 
tisans of  the  Pope,  and  fought  for  the  independence  of  the  cities  of 
Lombardy.  The  Popes  contended  at  this  juncture  for  the  liberty  of 
the  people  against  the  despotism  of  the  kings  and  of  the  feudal  aris- 

1108-1179]        '  ACCESSION    OF   PHILIP   AUGUSTUS.  167 





When  Philip  II,  surnamed  Augustus,5*  ascended  the  throne,  the  ter- 
ritory which  composes  France  of  the  present  day  was  almost  entirely 
nnder  the  sway  of  various  powerful  princes.  The  greater  part  of  the 
provinces,  at  first  independent,  had  recognized  the  sovereignty  of 
some  monarch;  those  of  the  west  were  subject,  in  a  great  measure, 
to  the  King  of  England,  those  of  the  east  to  the  Emperor  of  Ger- 
many, and  those  of  the  north  to  the  King  of  France  ;  lastly,  Provence 
and  a  part  of  Languedoc  pertained  to  the  sceptre  of  Arragon.  Philip 
saw  all  the  crowns  rival  to  his  eclipsed  before  him,  and  the  glory  is 
his  of  having  been  the  first  of  his  race  who  made  his  influence  felt 
from  the  Scheldt  to  the  Mediterranean,  from  the  Rhine  to  the  Ocean. 
Great  events  mark  the  course  of  his  reign  :  there  were  the  third  and 
fourth  Crusades ;  the  sudden  acquisition  of  monarchical  power  by 
the  seizure  of  the  continental  provinces  of  the  King  of  England ; 
and  lastly,  the  destruction  of  the  Albigenses,  or  heretics,  of  Languedoc 
and  Provence. 

Before  the  age  of  fifteen  years  this  prince  signalized  his  accession 
to  the  throne  by  a  frightful  persecution  of  the  Jews,  whom  Religious  perse. 
he  despoiled  and  drove  from  the  kingdom.  He  showed  cutlons- 
himself  yet  more  cruel  with  regard  to  a  sect  of  heretics  named  "  Pa- 
tarins,"  and  condemned  them  to  the  flames.  These  blasphemers  found 
in  him  a  pitiless  judge  :  the  rich  were  compelled  to  pay  twenty  "  golden 
sous,"  the  poor  being  thrown  into  the  river.  A  series  of  contests  and 
negotiations  with  the  great  vassals  of  the  crown  occupied  the  early 
years  of  this  reign.  Philip  espoused  the  daughter  of  the  Count  of 
*  Because  he  was  born  in  the  month  of  August. 

168  THIRD    CEUSADE.  [BOOK  I.  OhAP.  IV. 

Flanders,  and  obtained  by  this  marriage  the  city  of  Amiens,  and  the 
barrier  of  the  Somme,  so  important  to  the  defence  of  his  stales. 
He  increased  his  power  by  unfair  means,  fomenting  civil  wars  among 
his  neighbours,  and  exciting,  np  to  the  death  of  Henry  II.,  the 
children  of  that  king  against  their  father.  The  latter  signed  a 
humiliating  treaty  with  his  son  Richard  and  Philip  Augustus.  He 
heard  of  the  revolt  of  John,  his  third  son,  and  died  of  grief  at  Chinon. 
Richard  succeeded  him  on  the  throne  of  England,  and  won  by  his  fiery 
and  impetuous  valour  the  surname  of  Coeur  de  Lion. 

The  enthusiasm  of  the  Crusades  was  rekindled  in  Europe  by  the 
recital  of  the  misfortunes  which  overwhelmed  the  kins^- 

Fall  of  the  king-  ,  (  ° 

Oom  of  Jem-         dom  of  Jerusalem*  where  Lusie'nan  bore  rule.     Saladin, 

salera.  .  . 

surnamed  the  Great,  prince  or  sultan  of  the  Mussulmans 
in  Egypt  and  in  Sjnna,  had  inflicted  numerous  reverses  on  the  Chris- 
tians of  Palestine :  these,  succumbing  to  the  baneful  influence  of  the 
climate  and  manners  of  the  East,  had  promptly  degenerated,  and  most 
of  their  chiefs  had  hastened  their  misfortunes  by  conceiving  them- 
selves absolved  from  the  obligation  of  keeping  their  oaths  with  the 
infidels.  Saladin  gained  over  them  the  celebrated  battle  of  Tiberias  : 
Jerusalem  and  her  King  fell  before  the  power  of  the  conqueror. 

This   terrible   news    struck    Christendom    with    consternation,   and 
1C.     ,        filled  it  with  mourning;    a    formidable    expedition  was 
113&  prepared  :    the    three    greatest    sovereigns    of    Europe, 

Frederick  Barbarossa,  Emperor  of  Germany,  Richard,  King  of  Eng- 
land, and  Philip,  King  of  France,  took  up  the  Cross,  and  each  led 
into  Palestine  a  numerous  army.  The  results  by  no  means  corre- 
sponded to  these  grand  efforts  ;  Frederick,  before  arriving,  was 
drowned  crossing  the  river  Selef,  near  Seleucia.  Philip  and  Richard 
quarrelled  over  the  siege  of  St.  Jean  d'Acre.  Philip  was  jealous  of 
the  prodigious  exploits  of  his  rival,  whilst  Richard,  indignant  and 
irritated  at  the  superiority  which  Philip  affected  towards  him  as  lord 
suzerain,  supported  with  impatience  the  feudal  yoke.     The  King  of 

*  This  kingdom,  founded  by  the  Crusaders  in  1099,  had  at  first  been  circumscribed 
"by  the  limits  of  the  ancient  kingdoms  of  Judah  and  of  Israel  ;  subsequently  it  spread 
itself  over  almost  the  whole  of  Syria.  Godfrey  of  Bouillon  was  the  first  King  of 
Jerusalem;  Baldwin  I.,  Baldwin  II.,  Foulques,  Baldwin  III.,  Amaury,  Baldwin  IV., 
Baldwin  V.,  Guy  of  Lusignan,  were  his  successors.  Thenceforward  the  title  of  King  of 
Jerusalem  became  purely  nominal. 

1179-1226]  DEATH    OF    EICHAED    CCEU11    DE    BION.  169 

France  returned  to  his  kingdom,  leaving  his  army  under  the  com- 
mand of  Richard.  He  swore,  on  leaving  him,  not  to  undertake  any- 
thing against  him  in  his  absence,  and  to  defend  his  territories  as  he 
would  his  own.  Richard  pursued  his  heroic  career  in  Palestine  ;  he 
gained  brilliant  but  fruitless  victories,  wearing  out  the  Crusaders,  who 
murmured,  wishing  to  return  to  their  own  country,  till  at  length 
they  compelled  him  to  quit  the  Holy  Land.  Saladin  offered  to  the 
Christians  peaceable  possession  of  the  plains  of  Judea,  and  liberty  to 
perform  the  pilgrimage  to  Jerusalem :  Richard  agreed  to  these  con- 
ditions, and  embarked  for  Europe ;  he  landed  in  Austria,  upon  the 
territories  of  the  Duke  Leopold,  his  mortal  enemy,  wbo 

r  J  '  Captivity  of 

delivered   him  up   to    the  Emperor    Henry  VI.,  whose   Richard  Coeur  tie 

hatred  Richard  had  excited  :»  Henry  imprisoned  him  in 

the  Castle  of  Dierstein,  and  sent  to  inform  the  King  of  France  of  it. 

Philip  had  returned  to  his  kingdom  full  of  animosity  towards 
the  King  of  England.  He  had  sworn  not  to  attack  his  dominions 
in  his  absence  ;  nevertheless,  he  had  already  applied  to  the  Pope 
to  be  absolved  from  his  oath,  when  he  heard  of  the  captivity  of  his 
rival.  The  Pope  refused  to  release  him  from  his  word ;  but  Philip, 
taking  no  heed  of  his  refusal,  commenced  the  war.  Richard  was 
then  betrayed  by  his  brother  John,  who  had  possessed  himself  of  a 
portion  of  his  territories,  and  who,  as  well  as  Philip,  offered  the 
Emperor  enormous  sums  of  money  to  keep  the  English  monarch 
captive  ;  but  the  imprisonment  of  that  prince,  the  hero  of  the  Crusade, 
outraged  all  Europe,  and  the  public  clamour  compelled  Henry  VI.  to 
give  him  his  liberty,  which  he  sold  to  him  for  a  heavy  ransom.  He 
required  of  him,  in  a  public  diet  of  the  empire,  homage  as  his  suze- 
rain, and  released  him  after  ruining  him  by  an  exorbitant  ransom. 
Richard  returned  unexpectedly  to  his  dominions  ;  he  reduced  his 
brother  to  submission,  and  avenged  himself  on  Philip  by  forming 
an  alliance  with  the  most  powerful  of  the  barons  inimical  to  the 
French  monarch.  The  war  was  prolonged  between  these  two  rivals 
with  divers  success ;  they  signed  a  truce  for  five  years,  and  Richard 
was  killed  at  the  siege  of  the  small  fortress  of  Chaluz-   „    ,-'„.■.., 

°  Death  of  Eichard 

Chabrol  in  Limousin  (1199).  and  usurpation  of 

v  y  -  John,  surnamed 

John,  the  youngest  son  of  Henry  II.,  seized  the  crown   LacMand» 1199- 
of  England,  and  Philip  supported  against  him  the  just  pretensions 

170  DEATH   OF   PRINCE  AETHUE.  [Book  I.   Chap.  IV. 

of  Arthur  of  Brittany,  his  nephew,  the  son  of  his  elder  brother ;  this 
young  prince  promised  homage  to  Philip  for  all  his  possessions  in 
France,  and  ceded  Normandy  to  him.  A  sangninary  war  arose* 
Death  of  Arthur  Arthur  with  his  knights  was  captured  by  King  John,  and 
of  Bnttany.  me£  ]^g  (Je^fr  by  assassination.     It  is  said  that  his  nncle 

came  by  night  to  the  tower  of  Rouen  where  he  held  him  captive,  and 
that  after  vainly  striving  to  make  him  cede  to  him  his  rights,  he 
stabbed  him  with  his  sword,  fastened  a  heavy  stone  to  the  body,  and 
himself  threw  it  into  the  water.  This  frightful  crime  excited  uni- 
versal indignation,  and  it  was  to  the  interest  of  France  that  he  should 
meet  chastisement.  It  was  in  fact  a  measure  which  served  the  inte- 
rests of  the  crown  no  less  by  its  immediate  results,  than  by  the  idea 
which  it  gave  of  the  power  of  the  French  monarch  and  of  the  de- 
pendence thereupon  of  his  great  vassals.  John,  King  of  England, 
and  vassal  of  the  crown  for  his  continental  possessions* 

Citation  of  King  r 

John  before  the  -^ag  cited  by  Philip,  his  suzerain,  before  his  peers  to 
answer,  among  other  heads  of  the  accusation,  for  the 
murder  of  his  nephew  Arthur.  He  did  not  repudiate  the  jurisdiction 
of  the  tribunal,  but  dreading  its  sentence,  he  did  not  appear  before  it : 
Condemnati  n  f  ^e  COIIr^  °^  peers  condemned  him  to  death  as  contu- 
KingJohn.  macious.     Normandy,  Brittany,  Guienne,^  Maine,  Anjou, 

SSthientai  ms  and  Touraine,  lands  which  he  held  in  fief  from  France, 
theCrownS07lth  were  declared  confiscated,  pertaining  to  the  King,  and 
reunited  to  the  crown.  This  reunion,  however,  did  not 
take  place  without  numerous  battles  and  a  vast  effusion  of  blood. 
In  this  war  John  was  himself  his  worst  enemy :  his  cruelties,  exac- 
tions, and  avarice  roused  the  people  against  him  ;  he  attacked 
the  clergy  through  their  property,  and  was  soon  excommunicated ; 
Pope  Innocent  III.  offered  his  kingdom  to  Philip,  who  assembled 
an  army,  intending  a  descent  upon  England.  John,  in  alarm,  became 
as  humble  towards  the  Church  as  he  had  before  been  insolent ;  he  sub- 
mitted to  the  Pope,  and  did  homage  to  him  for  his  crown.  Philip 
then  marched  against  him  in  virtue  of  the  Pontifical  sentence,  but  the 
submission  of  King  John  had  made  a  change  in  the  views  of  the  Holy 
See.     It  had  been  for  Philip,  but  was  now  for  the  King  of  England. 

*  Guienne,  however,  remained  long  subsequently  to  the  kings  of  England  ;  but  Poitou 
was  detached  from  it  by  Philip  Augustus,  who  conquered  its  territory. 

1179-1226]  SIGNING   OF  MAGNA   CHAETA.  171 

Pandolpii,  legate  of  the  Roman  Pontiff,  repaired  to  France  and  forbade 
Philip  to  proceed  further ;  yet,  to  calm  his  resentment,  he  pointed  out 
the  Count  of  Flanders  as  a  rich  prey  to  promise  to  his  army :  Flanders 
might  be  accepted  in  exchange  for  England.  Old  grievances  existed 
between  Ferrand,  count  of  that  province,  and  Philip  ;  the  King  could 
now  obtain  satisfaction  by  force  of  arms.  Ferrand  hastened  to  league 
himself  with  John  of  England,  and  with  his  father  Otho  IY.,  Emperor 
of  Germany.  The  French  army  met  that  of  the  enemy  between  Lille 
and  Tournay.  They  joined  battle  at  the  bridge  of  Battleof 
Bouvines  ;  the  Emperor  and  the  King  of  France  com-  Bouvmes> 1214- 
manding  in  person,  when  the  latter  achieved  a  brilliant  victory; 
five  counts,  and  among  them  the  Count  of  Flanders,  fell  into  his 
hands,  the  communes  of  five  French  cities  had  sent  their  soldiers  to 
the  battle,  and  they  rivalled  the  knights  in  glory.  Philip  was 
received  in  Paris  amid  the  acclamations  of  his  people,  and  the 
glorious  battle  of  Bouvines,  in  which  he  vanquished  three  sovereigns, 
prodigiously  increased  the  consideration  and  renown  of  the  Capetian 
dynasty  in  the  eyes  of  Europe.. 

Nevertheless  King  John  had  never  intended,  in  submitting  his  king- 
dom to  the  Church,  to  sacrifice  to  it  his  own  criminal  passions.  He 
rendered  himself  so  odious  and  so  contemptible  that  his  barons  leagued 
themselves  against  him,  and  sword  in  hand  forced  him,  on  the  15th  of 
June,  1215,  to  sign  the  charter  which  has  become  the  basis  of  the 
liberties  of  the  English  people,  and  which  is  known  as  M  charta 
Magna  Charta.  By  it  the  King  engaged  himself  not  to  13lD• 
despoil  widows  and  minors  confided  to  his  charge,  to  raise  no  taxes 
without  the  approbation  of  his  Privy  Council  or  of  Parliament,  never 
to  imprison,  mutilate,  or  condemn  to  death  freeholders,  merchants,  or 
peasants  without  the  consent  of  twelve  of  their  equals.  These  clauses 
and  some  others  appeared  intolerable  to  the  despotic  King :  he  only 
made  oath  to  that  Charter  in  the  hope  of  being  released  from  it  by 
the  Pope,  and  in  fact  he  was  so  released.  His  barons  then  offered  the 
crown  to  Louis  of  France,  the  son  of  Philip  Augustus.  This  prince,, 
despite  his  father's  vow  and  the  prohibition  of  the  Pope,  whose  legate 
excommunicated  him,  crossed  over  to  England.  He  was  Louig  f  ^  ^ 
received  with  open  arms  by  the  barons  and  possessed  m  England,  1216. 
himself  of  the  kingdom  ;    but    King   John  died    at   this   time,  and 

172  FOURTH    CRUSADE.  [BOOK  I.  Chap.  IV. 

his  partisans  proclaimed  his  young  son  Hemy,  King.  The  English 
people  attached  themselves  to  the  youth,  and  Louis,  abandoned  by  his 
supporters,  returned  to  France,  after  having  contributed  to  establish  on 
a  more  solid  basis  the  liberties  of  England. 

Philip  Augustus  found  himself  under  the  ban  of  excommunication, 
the  common  lot  up  to  that  time  of  almost  all  his  race.  He  was  anathe- 
matized on  the  occasion  of  his  third  marriage  "with  Agnes  de  Meran, 
during  the  lifetime  of  his  second  wife,  Ingeburge  of  Denmark.  He 
showed  signs  of  resistance  :  all  his  possessions  were  placed  under 
interdict.  No  one  could  be  married,  or  receive  communion,  nor  could 
the  dead  be  buried.  The  people  were  seized  with  terror,  and  the  King 
was  finally  driven  to  submit. 

A  fourth  Crusade    took  place   under  his  reign.     It  was  preached 

by  the  enthusiastic    Fulk,    cure    of  JSTouilly-sur-Marne. 

Taking  of  Con- '    The  powerful  Counts  of  Flanders  and   Champagne  set 

the  Crusaders,       the    example    and   took  up   the   Cross  :   they  were    fol- 

1202—1204.  . 

lowed  by  Dampierre,  by  Montmorency,  by  the  famous 
Simon  de  Montfort,  and  a  multitude  of  nobles  from  the  north 
of  France,  to  whom  the  Venetians  furnished  fifty  galleys  for  the 
transport  of  the  army ;  the  Marquis  de  Montferrat  and  the  Count  of 
Flanders  were  the  recognized  chiefs  of  this  expedition,  which  was 
really  directed  by  the  old  blind  Doge  Dandolo.  It  was  he  who,  under 
pretext  of  having  furnished  the  expense  of  their  transport,  carried 
the  Crusaders  to  the  conquest  of  Zara,  the  capital  of  Dalmatia,  which 
he  seized  in  the  name  of  the  Venetian  Republic  ;  then,  taking  advan- 
tage of  a  civil  war  which  was  desolating  the  Byzantine  empire,  and  of 
the  promises  of  a  young  Greek  prince,  who  came  to  the  camp  of  the 
Crusaders  to  implore  their  succour,  to  re-establish  on  the  throne  the 
Emperor  Comnenus,  his  father,  Dandolo  pointed  out  to  them  that 
Constantinople  was  a  rich  prey  and  easy  to  seize,  and  decided  them 
to  commence  the  Crusade  by  that  conquest.  In  vain  the  Pope  threw 
obstacles  in  the  way  of  this  adventurous  expedition  ;  in  vain  a  great 
number  of  the  Crusaders  separated  themselves  from  it,  and  proceeded 
straight  to  Palestine.  Dandolo  threw  the  army  against  Constanti- 
nople, which  disputed  with  Venice  the  empire  of  the  sea.  The 
Crusaders  carried  that  famous  capital  by  assault,  and  re-established  on 
the  throne  Isaac   Comnenus,  whom  an  usurper  had  driven  from  it; 

1179-1226]  CRUSADE    AGAINST   THE    ALBIGENSES.  173 

but  very  shortly  a  popular  tumult  took  place,  the  old  Emperor  was 
strangled,  and  the  Crusaders  were  obliged  once  more  to  gain  the  city 
by  assault.  This  time  the  Greek  empire  was  divided  amongst  the 
conquerors,  and  Baldwin,  Count  of  Flanders,  descendant  of  Charle- 
magne, elected  Emperor.     Thus  was  founded  the  Latin  ,  ..      , 

°       7  x  Foundation  of 

empire  of  Constantinople,  which  endured  for  fifty- seven  §eco^m£plr8 
years.  The  Venetians  required  for  their  share  three  of  110ple' 1204, 
the  eight  quarters  of  that  city,  and  obtained  besides  the  greater  part 
of  the  isles  and  sea-board  of  the  empire.  The  Marquis  de  Montferrat 
had  the  kingdom  of  Thessalonica.  The  Morea  became  a  principality, 
and  the  territory  of  Athens  a  feudal  duchy.  The  Crusaders  never 
crossed  the  Bosphorus. 

The  event  which  agitated  Europe  most  profoundly  during  the  reign 
of  Philip  Augustus  was  the  war  of  the  Albigenses,  or  the 

Crusade  against 

crusade  undertaken  against  the  sectarians  of  the  South,    the  Albigenses, 

°  _  m  1208—1229. 

There  was  a  great  number  of  these  in  Provence,  in  Cata- 
lonia, and  especially  in  Languedoc.  The  inhabitants  of  these  provinces 
were  industrious,  given  to  commerce,  to  the  arts,  and  to  poetry  :  their 
numerous  cities  flourished,  governed  by  consuls  under  a  somewhat 
republican  form  of  rule.  Suddenly  this  beautiful  region  was  aban- 
doned to  the  fury  of  fanaticism,  its  cities  were  ruined,  its  arts  and 
commerce  destroyed.  All  these  massacres,  all  this  devastation,  had 
for  then*  end  a  purpose — the  stifling  of  the  first  germs  of  a  religious 

In  these  countries  the  clergy  were  not  distinguished,  as  in  France 
and  in  the  northern  provinces,  by  their  zeal  in  instruction  and  in 
diffusing  the  light  of  religion.  They  were  notorious  for  disorderly 
living,  and  fell  every  day  into  greater  contempt.  The  need  for  reform 
made  itself  felt  before  long  in  the  breast  of  the  provincial  populations, 
and  many  reformers  had  already  appeared.  Long  before  this  they  had 
formed  themselves  into  associations,  which  had  for  their  aim  the  puri- 
fication of  the  morals  and  doctrines  of  the  Church.  There  were  those 
of  the  Patarins,*  and  of  the  Catharins,'f  or  "poor"  of  Lyons,  better 
known  under  the  name  of  Yaudois.  But  the  operative  reforms  extended 
themselves    gradually,    the    dogmas    themselves   were    attacked,    the 

*  So  called  from  pater,  because  these  sectarians  admitted  of  none  but  the  Lord's  Prayer. 
f  From  the  Greek  Jcaiharos,  pure,  on  account  of  the  purity  of  their  liyes. 

174  RELIGIOUS    DOCTRINES    OF   THE    ALBIGENSES.      [Book  I.  Chap.  IV. 

priests  exposed  to  the  insults  of  the  people,  and  the  domains  of  the 
Church  invaded.  Such  was  the  state  of  affairs  when  the  famous 
Innocent  III.,  aged  39,  ascended  the  Pontifical  throne  in  1198,  bring- 
ing thereto  a  domineering  spirit,  and  the  fiery  energy  of  a  violent  and 
inflexible  character.  This  Pontiff,  who  kept  Europe  in  fear,  sought  out 
and  punished  any  free  exercise  of  thought  in  religious  matters-  He 
was  the  first  to  perceive  the  serious  menace  to  the  Romish  Church, 
apparent  in  a  liberty  of  conscience  which  went  so  far  as  to  break  into 
revolt  against  her  tenets.  He  saw  with  inquietude  and  anger  the  new 
tendency  of  feeling  in  Provence  and  Languedoc,  and  proscribed  the 
reformers.  Some  among  them,  above  all  those  denominated  Albi- 
genses, were  Manicheans,  that  is  to  say,  they  admitted 

Religious  doc-  ^ 

trinesofthe         the    dangerous  doctrine    of  two  eternal   principles   and 

Albigenses.  ° 

powers  of  good  and  evil ;  but  a  great  number,  known 
under  the  name  of  Vaudois,  professed  opinions  but  little  different 
from  those  which,  three  centuries  later,  were  preached  by  Luther. 
They  denied  the  Transubstantiation  in  the  Sacrament  of  the  Eucharist, 
rejected  confession,  and  the  Sacraments  of  confirmation  and  marriage, 
and  stigmatized  as  idolatry  the  worship  of  images.  These  latter  were 
spread  over  Lyons,  Dauphine,  and  Provence ;  the  Albigenses  occupied 
more  particularly  Languedoc :  their  principal  centres  of  action  were 
Bezisrs,  Carcassone,  above  all  Toulouse,  a  very  large,  powerful,  and 
industrious  city,  whose  count,  Raymond  VI.,  was  the  richest  prince 
in  Christendom ;  his  nephew,  Raymond  Roger,  a  young  man  full  of 
ardour  and  courage,  was  Count  of  Beziers.  Both  the  one  and  the 
other,  without  breaking  with  Rome,  had  favoured  the  new  doctrines. 

Innocent  III.,  impatient  to  stifle  the  heresy,  sent  in  the  first  place 
inquisitors  into  the  province  of  ISTarbonne  :  they  were  badly  received. 
The  legate  Pierre  Castelnau  succeeded  them ;  he  excommunicated 
Raymond,  who,  fearing  the  menaces  of  the  Roman  Pontiff,  was  forced 
.  ,    to  submit  and  to  permit  the  persecutions.     A  gentleman, 

Assassination  of  . 

gentleman  of  a  vassal  of  the  count,  indignant  at  the  humiliation  of  his 
Toulouse,  1208.  suzerain  and  the  cruelty  of  the  legate,  assassinated  the 
latter,  and  by  this  murder  gave  the  Pope  pretext  to  preach  a  crusade 
against  the  dominions  of  Raymond  VI.  and  of  his  nephew.  The 
monks  of  Citeaux  seconded  the  vengeance  of  Innocent ;  they  offered 
ample  indulgences  to  all  those  who  would  bear  arms  for  forty  days 

1179-1226]  MASSACRE    OP   BEZIBRS.  175 

against  the  sectarians.  A  multitude  of  English,  French,  and  Germans, 
eager  to  gain  them,  nocked  under  the  banners  of  the  Pope.  The  im- 
mense preparations  of  the  crusaders  struck  terror  into  Raymond  VI., 
who,  worn  with  age  and  unable  to  offer  a  vigorous  resistance,  sub- 
mitted himself  and  went  to  the  Abbot  of  Oiteaux,  the  new  legate 
of  the  Pope.  This  latter  reconciled  him  to  the  Church  by  causing 
him  to  be  beaten  with  rods  at  the  foot  of  the  altar ;  he  ordered 
him  to  guide  the  enemy's  columns  into  the  heart  of  his  states,  and  to 
deliver  up  his  chief  castles.  The  young  Viscount  de  Beziers,  nephew 
of  Raymond,  indignant  at  the  pusillanimous  conduct  of  his  uncle, 
declared  war,  and  determined  to  be  buried  with  his  knights  in  the 
ruins  of  his  strongholds.  The  crusaders  threw  themselves  in  a  body 
on  his  lands,  seized  his  castles,  burnt  all  the  men  they  found  in  them, 
violated  the  women,  massacred  the  children,  and  carried  Beziers  by 
assault.  An  immense  number  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  neighbouring 
country  had  taken  refuge  within  the  walls  of  that  city;  the  legate 
being  consulted  by  the  conquerors  as  to  the  fate  of  these  unhappy 
creatures,  of  whom  only  a  portion  were  heretics,  pronounced  these 
execrable  words:    " Kill  them  all;    God  toill   know  his  „ 

Massacre  of 

own"   A  frightful  massacre  followed  these  words,  and  the   B(?ziers>  1209. 
city  was  reduced  to  ashes.     The  army  of  crusaders  marched  thereupon 
to  Carcassonne,  and  was  sharply  repulsed  by  the  Viscount  de  Beziers. 
This  young  hero  afterwards  repaired  to  the  legate  to  treat  for  peace, 
and  was  captured  with  three  hundred  knights  in  spite  of  a  safe  con- 
duct, in  virtue  of  the  maxim  "  that  one  is  not  bound  to  keep  faith  to- 
wards heretics  and  infidels."    The  inhabitants  of  Carcassonne  evacuated 
the  city  by  secret  subterranean  passages  unknown  to  the  crusaders, 
but  four  hundred  and  fifty  of  them  were  taken  and  put  to  death.      The 
crusaders  themselves,  weary  of  such  horrors,  desired  to  retire  at  the 
end  of  the  forty  days.    The  legate  made  fruitless  efforts  to  detain  them, 
and  gave  all   the   conquered   country   to   the   ferocious   _    .,    f  , 
Simon,  Count  de  Montfort ;  he  delivered  over  to  him  also   B&iS?* de 
the  Viscount  de  Beziers,  who  died  by  poison. 

A  part  only  of  the  Albigenses  had  been  subjected  and  destroyed  in 
this  first  crusade.  The  states  of  the  Count  of  Toulouse  remained 
intact,  and  against  these  in  following]  years  the  monks  of  Citeaux 
preached  new  crusades  throughout  Europe.     In  vain  the  unfortunate 

l'<3  BATTLE   OF  BIURET.  [Book  I.  Chap.  IY. 

Count  Raymond  wished  to  allay  the  storm;  the  Council  of  Saint 
Gilles  imposed  infamous  conditions  on  him,  and  ordered  him  to  deliver 
over  to  the  stake  those  whom  the  priests  pointed  out  to  him.  The 
aged  Raymond  remembered  his  heroic  nephew,  and  the  thousands  of 
men  slain,  whose  blood  cried  out  for  vengeance ;  his  indignation  re- 
animated his  valour,  and  he  prepared  for  war  to  the  death.  The 
crusaders  arrived  from  all  parts  ;  Simon  cle  Montfort  was  at  their  head 
and  distinguished  himself  by  frightful  cruelties  :  immense  piles  were 
prepared ;  the  legate  and  Foulquet,  Bishop  of  Toulouse,  confounded 
in  the  same  holocaust  heretics  and  Catholics  suspected  of  heresy.  The 
n  L„    r  battle   of  Muret,  fouoht  in   1213,  terminated  this  war  ; 

Battle  of  °  7  7 

Muret,  1213.  Don  Pedro5  King  of  Arragon,  who  had  brought  succour 

to  the  Count  of  Toulouse,  perished  there.  The  Albigenses  were 
defeated,  and  that  defeat  gave  a  mortal  blow  to  their  cause. 

The  victorious  executioners  quarrelled  among  themselves  and 
fought ;  the  people  regained  courage.  Toulouse  rose.  Montfort 
made  himself  master  of  it  by  the  horrible  treachery  of  the  Bishop, 
Foulquet ;  the  latter  invited,  in  the  name  of  the  God  of  peace,  all  the 
inhabitants  to  come  out  and  meet  Montfort,  who,  with  his  knights, 
was  awaiting  them,  and  put  them  all  in  chains.  The  war  was  con- 
tinued with  various  success,  till  at  last  all  Languedoc  rose  in  arms. 
Montfort  was  killed  before  Toulouse,  which  he  was  besieging  ;  Count 
Raymond  was  recalled,  and  received  in  that  city  with  the  acclamations 
of  the  people  :  he  died,  the  priests  refused  him  sepulture,  and  his  coffin 
remained  many  days  exposed  at  the  door  of  a  church.  These  were 
the  principal  events  in  the  wars  of  the  Albigenses,  but  this  was  not  the 
end  of  the  misfortunes  of  that  country.  The  conquerors  desired  to 
desolate  the  very  soil  which  had  supported  these  heretics.  The  Popes 
preached  new  crusades  against  Raymond  VII.,  son  and  successor  of 
the  old  Count  Raymond.  Great  calamities  again  overwhelmed  these 
people  ;  their  cities  were  destroyed,  their  fields  desolated  :  at  lengthy 
after  twenty-two  years  of  atrocities,  when  the  language,  the  arts,  and 
industry  of   these   provinces   had  disappeared   with  the 

Cessation  of  the  -  .  .  . 

war  against  the     reformation,  the  executioners  were  wearied,  and  the  war 


ceased  under  the  following  reign,  to  the  great  advantage 
of  France.  Raymond  VII.  ceded  to  it  a  portion  of  his  territories  by 
the  treaty  of  Paris,  signed  in  1229. 

117P-1226]  LABOURS   OF   PHILIP  AUGUSTUS.  177 

Philip  Augustus  took  no  active  part  in  this  war  of  extermination  ;  he 
couffht,  on  the  contrary,  to  repair  its  disasters,  and  while 

*       °  m  Government  and 

fanaticism   was    steeping   the    southern    countries'  with   administration  of 

Philip  Augustus. 

jjlood,   he   extended   his   dominions  and  rendered  them 
flourishing.       The   national   assemblies   had   fallen    into   desuetude  : 
pbilip  appealed  to  his  chief  barons  to  form  his  council  and  sanction 
his  decrees. 

Jle  conquered  JSTormandy,  Maine,  Anjou,  Touraine,  and  Poitou, 
formerly  forfeited  to  the  King  of  England ;  he  conquered  also  the 
county  of  Auvergne.     Under  his  reign  Valois,  part  of  Yermandois, 

|  alld  Amienois,  fell  to  the  crown  by  the  extinction  of  the  families  who 
possessed  them  ;  this  King  also  re-annexed  Artois  to  his  crown  by  his 

|:  uniou  with  Isabelle  of  Flanders  and  Hainault :   finally,  he  gave  the 
inheritance  of  Brittany  to  Pierre  Mauclerc,  a  member  of  his  family, 
and  a  Capetian  dynasty  was  founded  in  that  country.   Ne    D    h    f 
Thus  was  formed  the  new  duchy  of  Brittany,  which  be-   Brittany- 

jf  came  one  of  the  great  immediate  fiefs  of  the  crown  of  France.  These 
results  were  as  much  the  work  of  his  -policy  as  of  his  fortune  and 
valour.  He  caused  his  great  vassals  to  bend  before  him,  and  obtained 
hy  his  victories  over  them  the  superiority  which  belonged  to  him  by 
rioht  of  his  royal  title.  The  citation  of  King  John  to  his  tribunal, 
and  the  judgment  pronounced  against  him,  dealt  a  mortal  blow  to 
feudal  "aristocracy. 

Philip  Augustus  was  occupied  all  his  life  in  warfare,  treaties,  re- 
forms, laws  for  his  fiefs,  and  secured  upon  a  firm  basis  the  i^g^^^y^an 
relations  between  lords  and  vassals,  which  until  then  had  Aueastus. 
hoen  only  in  an  unsettled  and  arbitrary  condition,  and  was  thus  the 
principal  founder  of  feudal  monarchy.      The  military/art  owed  some 

:  progress  to  him ;  soldiers  received  pay,  and  for  this  purpose  he  esta- 
blished the  first  permanent  imposts,  he  appointed  three  maritime 
armaments,  and  obtained  by  his  activity,  his  prudence,  and  his 
talents,  the  respect  both  of  sovereigns  and  people. 

The  important  foundation  of  the  University  of  Paris  dates  from 
this   prince,    who  defined  its  privileges.     The   name  of 

1  '  .  Foundation  of 

University  was  given  to  this  celebrated  school  because   the  University  of 

J  &  Paris,  1200.       ^Z 

It  was  universal  in  its  scope,  and  admitted  masters. and 

Biudents  without  regard  to  the  nation  to  which  they  belonged ;  thus, 

1*78  RISE   OF  THE  UNIVERSITY  OP  PARIS.       [Book  I.  Chap.  iy. 

there  were  found  in  it  the  sections  of  France,  England,  Normandy 
and  Picardy.     Paris  saw  at  this  time  a  multitude  of  colleges  sprino- 
up  in  its  midst,  several  of  which  acquired  a  great  celebrity.     All  the 
schools  were  placed  under  the  authority  of  the  provost  of  Paris,  and 
Philip  Augustus  confirmed  a  bull  of   Pope   Oelestin  m.   by  which 
the    scholars   were    released    from    ecclesiastical  .  jurisdiction.      The 
University  thus  rose  under  the  double  patronage  of  the  Holy  See 
and  of  Royalty.     It   alone  possessed  the  right  of  granting  the  de- 
grees of  bachelor,  licentiate,  and  doctor  in  the  different  faculties  of 
letters  and  sciences ;  and  though  its  rights  and  privileges  were  fre- 
quently the  source  of  great  disorders,  it  acquired  a  high  renown  and 
became  one  of  the  great  powers  of  the  state.     The  majority  of  the 
students,  at  that  time,  devoted  themselves   to   the   priesthood :  the 
French  Church  sought  with  admirable  learning  and  patience  for  the 
scattered  memorials  of  ancient  literature,  and  struggled  successfully 
against   barbarism   and  ignorance.      Philip   had   comprehended   the 
grand  effect  of  the  rising  University :  he  encouraged  the  studies,  with 
all  his  power,  and  desired  that  the  abode  of  those  who  abandoned 
themselves  to  learning  should  be  an  inviolable  asylum.     So  much  care 
for  an  object  of  such  general  interest  didnot,  however,  divert  his 
attention  from  matters  of  a  secondary  importance.     Paris,  especially, 
was  indebted  to  him  for  useful  alterations.     Up  till  that  time  all  the 
streets    of  the  capital  became,  in  rainy  weather,  infectious   sewers; 
but  the  principal  thoroughfares  were  paved  and  embellished  by  his 
orders.     He  enlarged  the  city,  enclosed  it  with  walls,  built  market- 
places, and  surrounded  the  Cemetery  of  the  Innocents  with  cloisters ;  l 
he  built  a  palace  by  the  side  of  the  large  tower  of  the  Louvre,  and  con- 
tinued the  Cathedral,  which  had  been  commenced  prior  to  his  reign 
He  gained  by  his  conquests  and  institutions  the  esteem  of  his  con- 
Death  of  Phiii    "temporaries,  and  died  at  Nantes  in  1223,  after  a  reign 
Augustus,  1223.     0£  forty- three  years,  leaving  a  portion  of  his  immense 
wealth  to  the  priests  and  crusaders,  and  also   making   considerable 
gifts  to  the  poor. 

-    louis  vrn. 

Louis  Vni.,  son  of  Philip  Augustus,  only  reigned  three^ years.     This 
prince,  whom  his  flatterers  named  Cceur  de  Lion,  was  descended  on^f 

1179-1226]  ACCESSION   OF  LOUIS   Yin.  1^9 

the  female  side  from  Charlemagne,  and  seemed  to  unite  in  his  person 
the  claims  of  the  Carlovingian  and  Capetian  houses.  Acce  . 
During  his  father's  life  he  had  been  recognized  King  of  Louis  VIn- 1223- 
England  by  the  barons  hostile  to  King  John,  but  being  abandoned 
by  his  partisans  he  was  obliged  to  quit  the  kingdom.  On  returning 
to  France,  he  took  from  the  English  Poitou,  which  they  had 
reconquered,  as  well  as  several  important  places  in  Aunis,  Perigord, 
and  Limousin,  among  others  Rochelle,  and  signalized  the  end  of 
his  reign  by   a   second   crusade    against  the   unhappy 

Second  crusade 

Albigenses.     The  principal  cities   of  Languedoc,   Beau-   against  the 

AJuigenses^  1226. 

caire,  Carcassonne,  and  B6ziers,  opened  their  gates  to 
him,  and  the  south  of  France,  with  the  exception  of  Guienne  and 
Toulouse,  recognized  the  royal  authority.  Louis  was  marching  against 
the  latter  eity  when  an  epidemic  fever  attacked  his  army,  and  he 
died  at  Montpensier,  either  from  an  attack  of  the  .malady,  or,  as 
some  believed,  from  poison,  administered  to  him  by  Death  f 
Thibaut  of  Champagne,  who  was  violently  enamoured  of  Lom8  VIIL  1226- 
Queen  Blanche  of  Castille,  whom  the  "King  left  a  widow,  with  five 
children  of  tender  years.     The  eldest  of  her  sons  was  St.  Louis. 

*  2 

180  REGENCY   OF   QUEEN   BLANCHE.  [BOOK  I.   Chap.  V. 


REIGN   OP  LOUIS   IX.    (SALNT  LOUIS),    1226-1270. 

Louis  IX. }  justly  venerated  under  the  name  of  St.  Louis,  was  only 
eleven  years  of  age  on  the  death  of  his  father,  and  the  regency  of  the 
kingdom  was  disputed  between  Queen  Blanche,  his  mother,  and  his 
uncle,  Philip  Hurepel,  son  of  Philip  Augustus  and  Agnes  de  Meran, 
whose  marriage  the  Church  had  refused  to  recognize.  A  great 
number  of  the  nobility  supported  the  claims  of  Philip,  and  Henry  III. 
of  England  declared  "himself  their  leader ;  but  the  devotion  of  the 
powerful  Thibaut,  Count  of  Champagne,  insured  the  advantage  to 
the  queen-mother,  and  caused  the  submission  of  a  portion  of  the 
rebels.  Blanche  had  a  mind  at  once '  great,  proud,  and  Christian  I 
Regency  of  sne   g,aye  excellent   masters   to   her   children,    and  had 

^.ieen Blanche.     tliem  ^eft^y  brought  up  in  the   fear  of  Cod.     "My 

son,"  she  said  to  the  young'  King,  "you  know  how  "dear  you  are 
to  me,  and  yet  I  would  sooner  .  see  you  dead  than  gnilty/of  a  mortal 
sin."  This  pious  Queen  also  possessed  political  talent,  and  kept  a 
firm  hand  over  the  malcontent  lords,  who  wished  to  oppose  the  coro- 
nation of  her  son.  Surprised  by  their  troops  on  the  Orleans  road, 
she  took  refuge  in  the  tower  of  Montlhery  and  summoned  to  her  aid 
the  citizens  of  Paris,  who  arrived  in  arms  to  deliver  her.  She  enabled 
Prance  to  reap  the  fruit  of  the  horrible  war  with,  the  Albigenses. 
Treaty  of  Paris  ^ne  ^reaty  °^  Paris,  signed  in  1229,  between  ~her  and 
1229,  Raymond  VII.,  Count  of  Toulouse,  attached  to  the  crown 

a  large  portion  of  Lower  Languedoc,  forming  the  -seneschalship  .of 
Beaucaire  and  Carcassonne,  and  Raymond  recognized  as  his  heir  in 
the  rest  of  his  territory  his  son-in-law  Alphonse,  one  of  the  brothers 
of  Louis  IX.,  declaring  the  inheritance  should  revert  to  the  crown  if 
there  were  no  child  of  the  marriage  of  Alphonse  with  his  only  daughter, 
Jane :  an  eventuality  which  came  to  pass.    Blanche  next  brought  into 

1226-1270]  INVASION   OF   THE    EAST   BY   MONGOLS.  181 

obedience  the  Dukes  of  Brittany  and  Burgundy,  in  spite  of  the  assist- 
ance  afforded    them  by  the  King  of  England ;  and   a 
trace,  which  terminated  this  civil  war,  was  signed  at  aqWu  da  rior- 

_.  .  raicr,  1231. 

St.  Aubin  dn  Cormier  between  her,  the  barons,  and  her 

Louis  IX.  was  nineteen  years  of  age  when  he  married  Margaret 
of  Provence,  then  only  thirteen.  Queen  Blanche  separated  them  for 
six  years,  and  always  afterwards  showed  a  jealousy  about  Margaret's 
influence  over  the -King.  A  few  years  afterwards  the  sister  of  this 
princess  married  Henry  III.,  Kong  of  England,  who  thus  became  the 
brother-in-law  of  St.  Louis.  The  picture  which  Erance  presents  from 
the  treaty  of  St.  Aubin  up  to  the  time  when  the  King  attained  his 
majority  is  that  of  general  peace ;  but  Louis  IX.  had  soon  to  contend 
against  the  great  vassals  and  nobles,  to  whom  his  grandfather,  Philip 
Augustus,  had  dealt  such  terrible  blows.  The  Counts  de  la  Marche,  of 
Foix,  and  several .  other  vassals,  united  with  Henry  III.,  who  crossed 
the  sea  with  an  army,  and  claimed  the  provinces  taken  from  John 
Lackland.  The  English  and  their  allies  were  conquered  by  Louis 
at  the  bridge  of  Taillebourg,  and  again  before  Saintes,  B  ttle  of  Taille. 
which  city  he  united  to  the  crown,  with  a  part  of  bour6»1242- 
Saintonge,  by  the  treaty  of  Bordeaux.  The  rebellious  lords  submitted 
to  a  master  who  generously  pardoned  them,  and  Henry  returned  to 

•  All  the  East  shook  at  this  time  in  the  expectation  of  a  frightful 
catastrophe.    The  Mongols  had  set  themselves  in  motion,   T 

r  •  o  7    Invasion  of  the 

and  their  countless  hordes,  emerging  from  Upper  Asia,  Eastt»yMongoi!?. 
exterminated  every  nation  they  passed  through.  Their  vanguard  had 
invaded  the  Holy  Land,  and  gained  a  sanguinary  victory  over  the 
Christians  and  Mussulmans,  whom. terror  had  united:  five  hundred 
Templars  were  left  on  the  field  of  battle,  and  Jerusalem  B  f  Gaza 
had  fallen  into  the  hands  of  the  ferocious  conquerors.  m4, 
St.  Louis  was  ill  and  almost  dying  when  the  news  of  this  disaster 
reached  Europe.  As  soon  as  he  felt  better,  to  the  astonishment 
of  all,  he  ordered  that  the  red  cross  should  be  placed  on  his  bed 
and  on  his  garments,  and  made  a  vow  to  go  and  fight  for  the 
tomb  of  Christ.  His  mother  and  even  the  priests  implored  hinfto 
renounce  this  fatal  design :  it  was  in  vain ;  and  no  sooner  was  he 

182  .  FIFTH   CRUSADE.  [Book  I.  Chap.Y. 

convalescent  than  he  summoned  his  mother  and  the  Bishop  of  Paris 
to  his  bedside,  and  said  to  them:  "As  you  believe  that  I  was  no! 
perfectly  in  my  senses  when  I  pronounced  my  vows,  here  is  my  cross, 
which  I  tear  from  my  shoulders  and  hand  to  yon.  Bnt  now  yon  must 
acknowledge  that  I  am  in  fall  possession  of  my  faculties.  Restore 
me  my  cross,  then;  for  He  who  knows  all  things  knows  also  that 
no  food  will  enter  my  lips  till  I  have  been  marked  anew  witli 
His  sign."  "It  is  the  finger  of  Grod,"  exclaimed  all  present;  "His 
will  be  done." 

The  religious  enthusiasm  of  Louis  grew  with  his  years,  and  domi- 
nated every  other  feeling'  in  him.    It  is  in  his  conscience. 

Fifth  Crnsade.  J  °  ' 

and  not  in  his  interests,  that  we  must  seek  the  motives 
of  all  his  actions.  He  joined  to  an  enlightened  reason,  a  tender,  pure, 
and  generous  mind;  but  his  ardent  faith  was  sometimes  blind, 
and  a  false  scruple  on  his  part  caused  the  greatest  misfortunes. 
Determined  on  leading  an  army  to  the  Holy  Land,  he  felt  that  the 
safety  of  that  army  depended  in  great  measure  on  the  route  which  lie 
selected  for  it.  The  safest  was  that  by  Sicily,  a  country  subject  to 
Frederick  II. ;  but  this  Emperor  was  excommunicated  by 'the  Pope, 
his  implacable  enemy,  and  Louis,  after  impotent  efforts  to  procure 
.  absolution  for  him,  was  afraid  of  halting  in  the  states  of  a  reprobate 
monarch,  and  resolved  to  proceed  towards  Egypt  by  Cyprus,  instead 
of  going  to  Syria  by  Sicily.  This  pious  fault  was  his  ruin.  After 
De  artureof  settling  all  the  affairs  of  his  states  and  appointing  his 
tiw  HoiySmd  mother  regent,  Louis  took  the  pilgrim's  staff  and  the 
1248,  orinamme  from  St.  Denis,  and   left  Paris  on  the  12th 

of  June,  1248,  to  embark  at  Aigues-Mortes,  a  town  he  had  founded  at 
a  great  cost,  in  order  to  have  a  port  in  the  Mediterranean.* 
s  The  King  sojourned  a  year  at  Nicosium,  the  capital  of  Cyprus,  and 
then  set  out  for  Egypt.  On  arriving  in  sight  of  Damietta  he  leaped 
into  the  sea,  sword  in  hand,  at  the  head  of  his  knights,  repulsed 
the  enemy,  and  seized  this  strong  city  and  all  its  immense  rei~$ 

The  only  course  open  was  to  march  on  Cairo  and  subjugate  Egypt 
by  a  rapid  invasion  ;  but  the  swelling  of  the  Nile  alarmed  the  Khigi 

*.  This  port  is  now  dried  up  :  the  water  in  retiring  has  left  a  space  of  half  a  league 
between  the  sea  and  the  shore. 

1226-1270]  CAPTURE   OF   KItfG  LOUIS.  183 

and  he  remained  for  five  months  inactive  at  Danrietta.  At  length  he 
left  that  town,  and  marched  without  any  precautions  on  Mansourah, 
The  Turks  surrounded  him  on  a  burning  plain,  and  hurled  on  his 
baggage  and  camp  blazing  bitumen,  known  by  the  name  of  *t  Greek 
fire."  Louis,  in  this  desperate  situation,  made  a  violent  B  m  f  M 
effort :  he  gave  orders  for  the  battle ;  the  Count  Artois,  $oural1' 1249- 
his  brother,  rushed  imprudently  on  Mansourah  and  surprised  the 
town,  but  was  surrounded  there  and  killed,  with  the  knights  who 
followed  him.  The  King,  who  had  been  unable  to  relieve  them, 
fell  back  on  a  camp  of  the  Saracens,  carried  it  and  shut  himself 
up  in  it,  but  his  position  became '  as  dangerous  there  as  his  pre- 
ceding one.  Disease  and  repeated  assaults  carried  off  one  half  of 
his  army,  and  he  was  himself  taken  dangerously  ill.  He  ordered 
a  retreat  on  Damietta,  where  he  had  left  the  Queen  and  a  powerful 
garrison,  but  Turkish  galleys  blocked  the  passage  of  the  river,  and 
finding  himself  without  resources  he  fell  a  prisoner,  with  all  his 
knights,  into  the  hands  of  the  Mussulmans.  A  great  number  of 
his -soldiers  apostatized  to  escape  death,  but  he,  thrown  into  irons  and 
Trader  the  most  atrocious  menaces,  preserved  the  majesty  of  a  king 
and  the  resignation  of  a  Christian.  Queen  Margaret,  at  Damietta, 
proved  herself  worthy  of  her  husband.  On  hearing  of  the  reverses  of 
the  army  she  shuddered  at  the  thought  of  falling  into  the  hands  of 
the  Turks,  and  asked  an  old  knight  who  never  left  her  to  grant  her 
one  favour,  that  of  running  her  through  with  his  sword,  rather  than 
allow  the  Mussulmans  to  seize  her.  "  I  had  thought  of  that,  Madam," 
replied  the  old  warrior.  But  Damietta  was  not  taken  by  storm  : 
Margaret  kept  the  city  as  a  pledge  for  the  safety  of  the  King, 
and  it  was  offered  with  400,000  livres  for  the  royal  ransom.  At 
this  price  Louis  recovered  his  liberty.  His  barons  returned  to 
*  France,  but  he  remained  four  years  longer  in  Syria,  exhorting  his 
knights  to  rejoin  him,  and  employing  his  treasures  in  fortifying 
Tyre,  Sidon,  and  all  the  other  places  in  Palestine  that  belonged  to 
the  Christians. 

Before  the  news  of  his  deliverance  became  known  a  crusade  of  a 
new  description  was  set  on  foot.  The  people  felt  as  much  love  for  the 
King  as  hatred  for  the  nobles  who  oppressed  them.  A  man  suddenly 
appeared  who  affirmed  that  he  had  received  from  the  Virgin  a  letter, 



[Book  I.  Chip.  V. 

which  lie  held  in  one  of  his  hands,  which  was  always  closed.     She 
ordered  him,   so  he    said,  to    collect   all   the   Christian 

Crusade  of  the  '  .     1 

Christian  shepherds  he   could  find  and  march  at  their  head  to  de- 

shepherds.  r 

liver  the  King,     victory  was  refused  fco  the  mighty,  and 

promised  to  the  feeble  and  humble.  This  uneducated  man  possessed 
eloquence,  and  ere  long  a  multitude  of  shepherds  followed  his  flag, 
and  outlaws  and  bandits  also  joined  themselves  to  him.  The  priests 
excommunicated  this  undisciplined  mob,  who  avenged  themselves 
by  massacring  a  great  number  of  ecclesiastics  at  Orleans.  Queen 
Blanche,  who  at  first  had  favoured  the  association,  from  this  moment 
did  everything  in  her  power  to  dissolve  it.  The  preachers  of  the 
shepherds  excite,d  the  people  against  the  priests.  They  were  in 
the  habit  of  preaching  surrounded  by  a  guard  of  armed  men  ;  and 
one  day  Blanche  introduced  among  them  an  executioner,  who  stepped 
behind  their  chief,  and  with  one  stroke  sent  his  head  rolling  at  the 
feet  of  his  horrified  audience.  Knights  then  galloped  up  and  dis- 
persed the  shepherds,  who  were  massacred  by  the  people  who  had 
previously  honoured  them. 

Queen  Blanche  died  in  1253,  after  a  wise  regency,  and  the  King 
~    ..    ,_  felt   the    most  bitter  grief  at    his   loss.      He   returned 

Death  of  Queen  & 

rJS-fofthe  ^°  France,  and  made  his  entry  into  Paris,  in  Sep* 
Kmg,  1254.  tember,  1254,  displaying  on  his  countenance  the  seared 

impression  of  all  his  disasters. 

On  his  return,  Louis  occupied  himself  actively  with  the  reformation 

of  his  kingdom,  and  displayed  the  lofty  qualities  of  a  legislator.     He 

completelv  destroyed  the  sovereign  authority  of  the  nobles 

Legislation  and  .    .  .  ... 

administration       by  depriving:  them  of  the  right  of  dealing  -justice  arbi- 

of  Saint  Louis.  .  .  .  . 

trarily.  An  important  discovery  seconded  his  efforts  : 
the  code  of  Roman  laws  known  by  the  name  of  the  Pandects  of  Justi- 
nian, and  which  governed  the  Empire  of  Constantinople,  became  known 
at  this  period  in  France.  This  collection  of  laws,  so  justly  celebrated, 
had,  at  the  time,  such  a  superiority  over  every  other  code,  that  it  was 
hailed  as  written  reason.  It  gave  a  living  impulse  to  the  minds  of 
men,  and  its  application  was  immediately  demanded ;  but  the  igno- 
rance of  the  nobles  was  so  great  that  it  was  found  necessary  to  call 
in  men  versed  in  the  study  of  the  laws  to  explain  it.  Saint  Louis 
was  the  first  to  introduce  these  lawyers  into  a  parliament,  which  he 


constituted  as  a  court  of  justice.  This  court  was  composed  of  three 
kio'h  barons,  three  prelates,  nineteen  knights,  and  eighteen  clerks,  or 
lawyers,  who  drew  up  the  decrees.  The  latter  succeeded  in  securing 
the  entire  management  of  affairs  by  disgusting  the  barons  through 
the  wearisomeness  of  the  proceedings ;  they  then  exercised  a  portion 
of  the  feudal  authority,  and  wished  to  render  that  of  the  King  absolute 
by  actively  seconding  him  in  all  his  projects  of  reform  and  attacks 
upon  feudal  rights. 

This  pious  and  humane  monarch  attempted  to  put  an  end  to  the 
private  wars  between  his  barons,'  and  prohibited  judicial  combats. 
He  decreed  that  when  an  inSult  was  offered,  the  two  parties,  before 
having  recourse  to  arms,  should  observe  a  truce  of  forty  days,  called 
"  the  king's  quarantine,"  thus  granting  time  for  passions  to  calm.  He 
ordered  that  judicial  debates  should  be  substituted  for  judicial  com- 
bats ;  and  considerably  enlarged  the  authority  of  the  crown  by  esta- 
blishing "royal  cases,"  in  which  he  himself  heard  causes  between  his 
subjects  and  their  lords.  The  lawyers  gave  the  greatest  extension  to 
these  appeals.  Nor  did  the  King  permit  cities  to  be  rendered  inde- 
pendent of  his  authority ;  he  transformed  many  communes  into  royal 
towns  by  the  ordinance  of  1256,  which  ordered  them  to  put  forward 
four  candidates,  from  among  whom  the  King  should  choose  the 
mayor,  who  was  to  be  responsible  to  him  for  his  conduct.  It  was 
then  settled  that  the  King  alone  had  the  right  to  make  communes, 
that  they  should  owe  him  fidelity  against  all,  and  that  the  title  of 
"King's  citizen"  should  be  a  safeguard  under  all  circumstances. 

The  name  of  "Establishments  of  Saint  Louis  "  has  been  given  to  a 
collection  of  decrees  passed  by  this  King  for  the  people  of  his  domains. 
This  celebrated  collection  contains  wise  and  useful  laws  against 
venality  in  the  administration  of  justice,  the  greediness  of  creditors, 
imprisonment  for  debt,  and  usurious  profits.  Louis  IX.  also  displayed 
the  independence  and  firmness  of  his  -judicious  mind  by  „ 

J-  o  j     Pragmatic 

publishing  the  Pragmatic  *  Sanction,  which  became  the  Sauctl0U- 
basis  of  the  liberties  of  the  Gallican  or  French  Church.  This  famous 
ordinance  prohibited  the  raising  of  money  for  the  Court  of  Rome  within 
the  kingdom  without  the  King's  permission,  and  fixed  the  cases  in 
which  it  would  be  permissible  to  appeal  from  ecclesiastic  to  royal 
*  This  word  is  derived  from  the  Greek  pragma,  which  means  "a  rule." 

186"  REFORM   OF   THE    COINAGE.  [Book  I.   Chap.Y. 

justice.  Lastly,  in  spite  of  his  great  devotion,  he  managed  to  keep 
in  check  the  extravagant  zeal  of  the  bishops.  "  Several  prelates,"  says 
Joinville,  "  having  corne  to  see  the  King  at  the  palace,  the  Bishop  of 
Auxerre  said  to  him,  '  Sire,  the  lords  here  present,  archbishops  and 
bishops,  have  commissioned  me  to  tell  yon  that  Christianity  is  perish- 
ing in  your  hands.'  The  King  crossed  himself  and  asked,  ' How  so?  ' 
1  Sire,'  the  bishop  resumed,  'because  so  little  heed  is  paid  to-day,  and 
eveiy  day,  to  excommunications,  that  people  "will  die  excommunicated 
rather  than  obtain  absolution,  and  will  not  give  satisfaction  to  the 
Church.  The  prelates  enjoin  you,  Sire,  by  the  love  of  G-od,  to  command 
your  provosts  and  bailiffs  that  all  those  who  remain  excommunicated 
for  a  year  and  a  day  shall  be  forced  to  seek  absolution  by  the  seizure  of 
their  property.'  The  King  replied  that  he  would  readily  give  such  an 
order  with  respect  to  all  those  who  were  proved  to  him  to  be  in  the 
wrong.  The  bishop  said  that  it  was  not  for  the  King  to  judge  then 
causes  ;  but  the  King  replied  that  he  would  not  order  otherwise,  for  it 
would  be  contrary  to  G-od  and  all  reason  if  he  forced  people  to  obtain 
absolution  when  the  clerks  acted  unjustly  to  them.  '  As  an  example  of 
this,'  the  King  added,  '  I  will  give  you  the  Count  of  Brittany,  who  has 
pleaded  for  seven  years,  while  excommunicated,  against  the  prelates  of 
Brittany,  and  has  eventually  induced  the  Pope  to  condemn  them  all. 
Hence,  if  I  had  constrained  the  Count  of  Brittany  in  the  first  year 
to  obtain  absolution  I  should  have  acted  wrongly  towards  Grod  and 
towards  him.' " 

Louis's  last  reform  was  that  of  the  coinage.  Eighty  nobles  had  the 
right  of  coining  in  their  domains,  but  Louis  fixed  the  value  of  the 
coinage  in  each  case,  and  brought  his  own  everywhere  into  currency. 
He  also  effected  greater  security  on  the  highways  of  the  kingdom,  by 
obliging  the  nobles  who  levied  a  toll  to  guarantee  the  security  of  the 
roads  through  their  domains.  * 

So  much  care  devoted   to   the  prosperity  of  the  kingdom   and  to 

the  salutary  establishment  of  his  authority  did  not  so  fully  occupy 

the  great  mind  of  this  King  as  to  divert  him  from  occu- 

datio'ns:  The       pations  of  less  general  interest,   but  of  no   less  useful 

Quinze-vingts,  .  , 

the  Holy  chapel,  kind.     He  founded  a  public  library   rn   Pans;    created 

the  Sorbonne. 

the  hospital  of  the  Quinze-vingts,  intended  to  receive 
300   blind    people ;  and  built  the   Holy  Chapel,  which  may  still  be 

226-1270]  PIETY   OF   LOUIS   THE   NINTH.  187 

admired  at  Paris,  near  the  Palace  of  Justice,  at  that  period  the  palace 
of  the  King.  During  his  reign,  Robert  de  Sorbon  also  founded 
the  college  which  bears  his  name — the  Sorbonne,  which  became  the 
seat  of  the  celebrated  faculty  of  theology,  whose  decisions  were  so 
respected  that  it  was  called  "the  perpetual  Council  of  Gaul." 

This  King's  truly  great  and  really  Christian  piety  did  not  solely  con- 
sist in  the  external  observance  of  the  practices  of  the  K  ofLouis 
Church :  it  sprang  from  the  heart,  and  consisted  chiefly  the  Nmth- 
in  the  love  of  God  and  an  internal  sanctity  of  the  soul.  Appro- 
priate to  this,  Joinville  relates  an  affecting  interview  which  he 
had  with  this  prince :  " c  Seneschal,'  the  King  said  to  me,  in  the 
presence  of  several  priests,  '  what  is  God  ? '  And  I  answered  him, 
1  Sire,  so  good  a  thing  that  there  can  be  nothing  better.'  c  Truly,' 
the  King  replied,  'that  is  a  very  good  answer,  for  the  answer  you 
have  made  is  written  in  this  book  which  I  hold  in  my  hand. 
Now,  I  ask  you,  which  would  you  prefer :  to  be  a  leper,  or  to 
have  committed  a  mortal  sin  ?  '  And  I,  who  never  lied  to  him, 
replied,  that  'I  would  sooner  have  committed  thirty,  than  be  a  leper.' 
And  when  the  brothers  had  departed,  he  called  me  aside,  made  me  sit 
at  his  feet,  and  said,  l  You  speak  without  reflection,  like  a  thoughtless 
man ;  for  there  is  no  leprosy  so  villanous  as  that  of  being  in  deadly 
sin ;  because  the  soul  then  resembles  the  fiend  of  hell.  This  is  why 
no  leprosy  can  be  so  loathsome.  When  a  man  dies,  he  is  cured  of  the 
leprosy  of  the  body ;  but  when  the  man  who  has  committed  a  deadly 
sin  dies,  it  is  not  certain  that  he  has  been  so  penitent  as  to  cause  God  to 
pardon  him.  Thence  he  should  feel  a  great  fear  lest  this  leprosy  may 
endure  so  long  as  God  is  in  Paradise.  Therefore,  I  pray  you,'  he 
added,  '  as  strongly  as  I  can,  that,  for  the  love  of  God  and  myself, 
you  will  prefer  to  have  any  malady  affect  your  body  rather  than  a 
mortal 'sin  affect  your  soul.'  Then  he  asked  me  if  I  washed  the 
feet  of  the  poor  on  Holy  Thursday  ?  '  Sire,'  I  said  to  him,  '  I  will 
never  wash  the  feet  of  those  churls.'  '  Truly,'  he  replied,  '  that  is 
wrongly  spoken,  for  you  ought  not  to  hold  in  disdain  what  God  has 
done  for  our  instruction.  Hence  I  pray  you,  for  the  love  of  God  and 
me,  to  accustom  yourself  to  wash  the  feet  of  the  poor.'  " 

Joining  to  this  touching  piety  a  great  zeal  for  equity,  Louis  himself 
taught  the  respect  due  to  the  laws.    He  liked  to  render  justice  to  his 

188  ARBITRATION  OF  LOUIS  IX.  [Book  I.  Chap.  Y. 

subjects  in  person.  "  Many  times,"  Joinville  also  says,  "it  happened 
that  in  summer  he  would  go  and  sit  in  the  wood  of  Yincennes  after 
mass,  and  leaning  against  an  oak,  he  made  us  sit  down  round  him, 
and  all  those  who  had  business  came  to  speak  with  him  freely,  unim- 
peded by  ushers  or  others." 

More  than  once  he  passed  severe  sentences  on  members  of  his  own 
family,  and  nobles  with  whom  he  was  intimate.  Still,  in  spite  of  such 
wisdom  and  pure  zeal,  he  committed  several  faults,  the  consequence 
of  errors  which  belonged  to  his  age  rather  than  to  himself:  laid 
cruel  penalties  on  Jews  and  heretics ;  and  four  hundred  and  fifty 
bankers  or  merchants  of  Asti  were  seized  by  his  orders  and  cast  into 
dungeons  for  lending  money  on  interest,  though  at  a  very  moderate 
rate.*  A  scruple  fatal  to  France  disturbed  the  mind  of  this  holy 
monarch.  The  conquests  of  Philip  Augustus  and  the  confiscation  of 
the  property  of  the  English  crown  oppressed  him,  and  appeared  to 
him  in  the  light  of  usurpations ;  and  he  concluded  at  Abbeville,  in 
T  t  fAbb  1259,  contrary  to  the  advice  of  his  barons  and  his 
tiolfof  a  portion  family>  a  treaty,  by  which  he  restored  to  Henry  III. 
of  PheiiipnqueStS  Perigord,  Limousin,  Agenois,  Querey,  and  Saintonge ; 
while  Henry  on  his  side  gave  up  his  claims  to  Nor- 
mandy, Anjou,  Maine,  Touraine,  and  Poitou.  The  prejudices  and 
scruples  of  Saint  Louis  alone  urged  him  to  conclude  this  unfavour- 
able treaty,  which  the  English  monarch  could  never  have  obtained 
by  force.  This  prince  was  at  the  time  at  war  with  his  barons, 
who  extorted  from  him  the  concessions  known  as  "  the  Provisions 
Arbitration  of  °^  Oxf°roV'  by  which  they  exercised  a  portion  of  the 
tween Henryiii  royal  authority.  Such  was  the  reputation  of  Saint 
and  his  barons.  Louis,  that  by  common  accord  he  was  selected  as  arbi- 
trator between  them  and  their  sovereign.  He  decided  in  favour  of 
Henry  III.,  and  the  Provisions  of  Oxford  were  annulled. 

Almost  at  the  same  time  that  Louis  signed  the  treaty  of  Abbeville 
he  signed  with  the  King  of  Arragon  the  treaty  of  Corbeil,  by  which 
Treat  of  Corbeil  ^at  prince  gave  up  all  the  fiefs  he  still  possessed  in 
l'm"  Languedoc,  and  his  claims  to  Provence  ;  in  return  for 

which  France  surrendered  her  suzerainty  over  the   countries  of  Bar- 

*  According  to  the  Laws  of  the  Church,  and  in  the  ideas  of  the  middle  ages,  lending 
money  on  interest  was  regarded  as  a  crime. 

1226-1270]  FALL    OF    CONSTANTINOPLE.  189 

celona,  Roussillon,  and  Cerdagne.  The  King  of  Arragon  only  retained 
in  France  the  lordship  of  Montpellier,  and  the  Pyrenees  became  the 
frontier  of  the  two  States. 

Saint  Louis  had  lost  his  eldest  son,  and  several  members  of  his 
family  proved  to  be  turbulent  and  dangerous  to  France.  Charles  of 
Anjou,  his  brother,  an  ambitious  and  cruel  prince,  heir  by  his  marriage 
with  Beatrice  of  Provence  to  the  powerful  counts  of  that  name,* 
caused  him  very  great  anxiety,  and,  with  the  intention  of  removing 
him,  Louis  favoured  his  projects  with  regard  to  Naples  and  Sicily, 
then  possessions  of  the  Imperial  crown. 

The  illustrious  house  of  Suabia  was  humbled ;  Frederic  II.,  its  last 
Emperor,  met  with  his  death  in  struggling  against  the    Pope,  who 
sold  his  heritage,  and  offered  to  the  King  of  France  the 
kingdom  of  Naples,  where  Manfred,  the  bastard  son  of  first  house  of  An- 

,  jou,    at    Naples. 

Frederic  II.,  then  reigned.    Saint  Louis  refused  the  offer  Battle  of  Gran- 

°  .  della,  1266. 

for  himself,  but  allowed  his  brother  to  accept  it.     Charles 
of  Anjou  left  France  with  an  army  gathered  together  in  Provence ; 
and  six  years  later,  in  1266,  the  battle  of  Grandella,  where  Manfred 
perished,  placed  the  crown  of  Naples  and  Sicily  securely  on  his  head. 

The  East  now  attracted  more  forcibly  than  ever  the  attention  of 
Saint  Louis.  The  Roman  Empire  in  Constantinople  was  no  more  ; 
the  Creeks  had  retaken  that  city  in  1261.  Taking  advantage  of  the 
divisions  among  the  Christians  in  Syria,  Bendocdard,  the 

°  J        '  Fall  of  the  Roman 

sultan  of  Egypt,  made   a  series  of  rapid  conquests  in   Empire  in  Con- 

bJ  r  '  r  ^  stantinople,  1261. 

Palestine  :  Csesarea,  Jaffa,  and  Antioch,  had  fallen  into  his 
power,  and  a  hundred  thousand  Christians  had  been  massacred  in  the 
last-named  town.     On  receiving  intelligence  of  this  frightful  disaster, 
Saint  Louis  made  a  vow  that  he  would  take  up  the  Cross  for  the  second 
time.       After   making  pilgrimages  to   the  principal   churches  in  his 

*  Provence  had  for  a  long  time  formed  part  of  the  kingdom  of  Aries,  composed  of  the 
two  Burgundies,  Cis  and  Transjuran.  In  1033  Conrad  II.,  having  joined  this  king- 
dom to  the  German  Empire,  Provence,  which  comprised  the  four  republics  of  Nice, 
Aries,  Avignon,  and  Marseilles,  was  detached  from  it  and  remained  independent  under 
sovereign  counts.  Raymond  Berengarius  was  the  last,  and  Beatrice,  his  daughter 
and  heiress,  having  married  Charles,  Count  of  Anjou,  Provence  passed  into  the  pos- 
session of  the  latter,  who  soon  after  became  King  of  Naples  and  Sicily.  Such  was 
the  origin  of  the  powerful  house  of  the  Counts  of  Anjou,  Kings  of  Sicily,  and  Counts  of 
Provence,  which  became  extinct  with  "  Good  King  Rene,"  who  died  in  1480. 

190  SIXTH  CRUSADE.  [Book  I.  Chap.  V. 

kingdom,  he  embarked  again  at  Aigues-Mortes,  in  1270,  and  set  sail 
for   Tunis.     He  had  appointed  a   rendezvous   with   his 

Sixth  Crusade.  ; 

Second  De-  brother,  Charles  d  Anjou,  within  the  walls   of   ancient 

parture  of  Saint 

Louis  for  the        Carthage.    He  disembarked  opposite  to  this  ruined  town, 

Holy  Land,  1270.  &  ... 

and  had  to  suffer  an  infinity  of  evils,  from  the  dryness  of 
the  soil,  the  heat  of  the  sun,  and  the  arrows  of  the  Moors.  The  plague 
carried  away  part  of  his  army,  which  he  was  compelled  to  hold  back 
in  fatal  inaction  ;  it  struck  down  his  second  son,  the  Count  de  ISTevers, 
and  he  himself  was  attacked  at  the  end  of  a  month.  He  employed 
his  last  moments  in  giving  good  counsels jto  Philip,  his  third  son  and 
his  heir.  "  Dear  son,"  said  he  to  him,  "  the  first  thing  that  I  wish  to 
impress  upon  thee  is  that  thou  love  God ;  for  without  that    no  one 

can  be  saved Have  a  gentle  and  compassionate  heart  for  the 

poor,  for  the  feeble,  and  comfort  and  aid  them  whenever  it  is  in 
thy  power.  Maintain  the  good  customs  of  the  kingdom,  and  destroy 
the  bad.     Do  not  covet  the  property  of  thy  people,  and  do  not  charge 

it  with  rates  or   taxes Be   careful   to   have  the   society  of 

prudent  men,  and  loyal,  who  are  not  full  of  covetousness.  Flee  and 
escape  from  the  society  of  evil  men.  Listen  willingly  to  the  word  of 
God,  and  retain  it  in  thy  heart ;  seek  also  willingly  for  prayers  and 
pardons.  Love  thine  honour,  and  hate  evil,  of  whatever  nature  it  may 
be.  Be  loyal  and  firm  in  rendering  justice  to  thy  subjects,  neither 
turning  to  the  right  hand  nor  to  the  left ;  but  aid  and  sustain  the 
cause  of  the  poor  until  the  truth  is  brought  to  light.  Guard  the  cus- 
toms of  thy  kingdom,  and  if  there  be  anything  to  amend,  amend  it 
and  correct  it.  Give  the  livings  of  the  holy  Church  to  good  men, 
with  spotless  lives,  and  act  under  the  advice  of  men  of  probity.  Keep 
thyself  from  being  moved  into  war,  without  great  necessity,  against 
Christian  men.  Take  care  that  the  expenses  of  thy  household  are 
reasonable.     Lastly,  dear  son,  see  that  masses  are  sung  for  my  soul, 

and  prayers  offered  up  for  thy  kingdom I  bestow  on  you  all 

the  blessings  that  a  good  father  can  give  to  his  son May  God 

give  you  grace  to  do  always  His  will,  in  order  that  after  this  mortal 
life  we  may  be  with  Him,  my  son,  and  praise  Him  together."  # 

The  King  delivered  himself  up  at  last  entirely  to  religious  observ- 
ances ;  he  expressed  a  wish  before  death  to  be  raised  from  his  bed  and 

*  Meinoires  du  Sire  du  Joinville. 

1226-1270]  DEATH    OP    SAINT   LOUIS.  191 

laid  upon  ashes,  and  there  he  expired,  holding  the  crucifix  in  his  arms. 
"  On  the  Monday,  the  good  King  raised  his  clasped  hands  to  heaven, 
and  said : — i  Lord  God,  have  mercy  on  the  people  who  dwell  here,  and 
conduct  them  into  their  own  land  ;  let  them  not  fall  into  the  hands  of 
their  enemies  ;  and  let  them  not  be  led  to  forswear  Thy  holy  name  ! ' 
Shortly  before  his  death,  and  while  he  was  slumbering,  he  sighed 
and  said,  in  a  low  tone,  '  0  Jerusalem  !  0  Jerusalem  !  '  "  *  His  last 
thoughts  were  concerning  Grod,  the  Holy  City,  and  France,  and  he 
gave  up  the  ghost  on  the  25th  of  August,  1270,  after  having  ap- 
pointed as  regents  of  the  kingdom,  Mathieu  de  Saint-  Death  of  gaint 
Denis  and  Roger  de  Nesle.  No  other  king  was  more  Louls'  12'°- 
worthy  of  the  admiration  of  his  fellow- men,  and  alone,  out  of  all  his 
race,  the  Church  bestowed  on  him  the  honours  of  canonization. 

*  Petri  Episl.  ap.  Spicileyium. 

192  GENERAL    RETROSPECT.  [BOOK  I.    ChAp.  VI. 



The  two  Hundred  and  ninety  years  of  which  we  are  about  to  trace  the 
principal  events  were  fertile  with  calamities  and  also  with  progress. 
Among  the  latter,  the  most  worthy-  of  attention  are  the  gradual  and 
constant  increase  of  the  royal  authority,  the  birth  of  the  bourqoisie,  or 
the  Third  Estate,  which,  almost  imperceptible  at  the  end  of  the  tenth 
century,  started  into  existence  suddenly  towards  the  year  1100,  as  a 
social  power  in  the  first  communal  revolutions,  and  finished  by 
absorbing  nearly  the  whole  nation. 

We  have  shown,  in  the  preceding  chapters,  the   gradual  and  suc- 
cessive progress  of  royalty  ;  we  have  seen  it  grow  great  under  Louis 
the  Eat,  then   afterwards  to  acquire   reality  under  Philip  Augustus, 
by  the  prodigious  extension  given  to  the  possessions  of 

Conquests  by  the 

Crown  under  the   the  Crown;    bv  the  building  of  large  ships:  and  bv  the 

Feudal  system.  ...  ...  .  . 

superiority  which  public  opinion  accorded  to  it  in 
virtue  of  an  ancient  right  attached  to  the  royal  title  and  majesty. 
"We  see  it  later  adding  to  its  prerogatives  by  the  wise  decrees  of  Saint 
Louis,  and  removing  from  the  nobles  the  essential  rights  of  feudal 
power,  by  the  restrictions  placed  on  private  warfare,  and  above  all 
by  the  establishment  of  a  court  of  justice.  The  people  recognized,  in 
the  authority  of  the  monarch,  the  sole  power  capable  of  struggling 
with  success  against  their  numerous  oppressors.  They  desired  that 
this  authority  should  be  powerful  and  awe-inspiring,  hoping  in  case 
of  need  to  lean  upon  it,  and  applauded  with  fervour  its  rapid  pro- 
gress, which  was  then  of  a  noble  and  incontestible  utility.  Louis  the 
Eat,  in  fact,  bestowed  upon  royalty  its  character  of  public  power 
and  protection ;  Philip  Augustus  reconstructed  the  kingdom,  and  in- 
spired in  the  people  under  his  sceptre  the   sentiment  of  nationality ; 

1226-1270]  THE   ROYAL   POWER.  193 

Louis  IX.  impressed  on  his  government  a  character  of  equity,  a  re- 
spect for  the  public  rights,  and  a  love  for  the  public  welfare,  unknown 
until  his  time.  At  this  time,  then,  the  development  of  the  royal  power 
had  produced  an  epoch  of  happiness  for  France  ;  but  the  progress  of 
this  power  afterwards,  without  any  counterbalance,  insomuch  as  it  is 
considered  connected  with  the  true  interests  and  prosperity  of  the 
nation,  ceased  with  Saint  Louis,  and  was  afterwards  suspended  during 
more  than  a  hundred  and  fifty  years. 

This  prince  did  not  regard  his  authority  as  absolute ;  it  had,  however, 
no  precise  limit  with  him,  and  the  proneness  towards  despotism  was 
easy.  Royalty,  upon  thus  being  abandoned  to  it,  created  great  perils 
against  France  and  against  itself.  Before  recalling  the  new  destinies, 
it  is  necessary  to  throw  a  glance  at  the  results  which  had  been  produced 
upon  the  civilization  and  manners  of  the  French  by  the  great  events 
which  had  agitated  Europe  for  three  centuries.  One  of  the  most  re- 
markable facts  of  this  important  period  was  the  rapid  development  of 
the  middle  classes.  It  will  be  convenient,  in  the  first  place,  in  order  to 
give  an  account  of  this,  to  examine  the  principal  constituent  elements 
of  the  communes. of  France,  and  the  manner  in  which  the  greater  part 
obtained  their  charters  of  freedom. 

Ancient  Gaul  was  then  divided  into  two  parties,  distinguished  by 
their  language.  The  provinces  of  the  North,  where  they  spoke  the 
Roman  "Walloon  dialect ,*  were  called  Provinces  of  the   ^  .  .      .  „    , 

Division  of  Gaul 

Langue  d'Oil,  in  consequence  of  the  inhabitants  making  j?J°  l^d\^lgilQ 
use  of  the  word  oil  instead  of  oui  when  answering  in  the  Lan£'ue  d'OiL. 
affirmative ;  they  were  ruled  by  customs  derived  probably  from  ancient 
Gaul,  or  perhaps  from  the  German  people.  The  provinces  of  the 
South,  where  they  spoke  the  Roman  Provencal,  received  from  the 
monosyllable  oc,  of  which  the  meaning  is  equally  affirmative,  the  name 
of  the  Provinces  of  the  Langue  d'Oc ;  they  were  ruled  by  the  Roman 
or  written  law.  A  great  number  of  the  towns  throughout  the  southern 
provinces  had  preserved  the  form  of  municipal  govern- 
ment which  they  had  held  under  the  Romans  ;  others  had   t0WDS  *"  the 

•>  '  '   eleventh  and 

for  a  long  time  lost  the  liberties  which  that  power  had  twelfth  centuries, 
bestowed  on  them.     As  to  the  towns  of  recent  origin,  they  were  built 

*  That  is  to  say,  one  composed  of  corrupt  Latin  mixed  with  the  language  of  ancient 
Gaul.     The  Walloon  country  comprised  a  portion  of  Belgium. 

194  STATE    OF    THE    TOWNS.  [BOOK  I.  CHAP.  VI. 

•under  the  auspices  of  the  most  powerful  noble  in  the  province  or 
neighbourhood,  and  their  inhabitants  enjoyed  those  civil  rights  and 
privileges  which  it  pleased  that  nobleman  to  grant  or  guarantee  to 
them.  At  the  time  when  the  feudal  system  was  established,  the 
nobles,  both  ecclesiastical  and  lay,  opposed  with  all  their  power  the 
municipal  franchises.  They  substituted  in  great  part  their  own 
authority  where  franchises  existed,  and  usurped  all  the  rights  where 
the  franchises  were  either  destroyed  or  unknown.  Those  also  who,  in 
the  hope  of  increasing  the  population  of  their  fiefs,  had  guaranteed 
rights  and  liberties  to  men  who  came  to  settle  there,  afterwards 
violated,  for  the  most  part,  their  engagements  and  their  charters. 
Nearly  all  raised  arbitrary  taxes  in  the  towns,  forbade  the  citizens 
to  unite  together  and  arm  themselves  for  the  common  defence,  and 
usurped  the  right  of  high  and  low  justice.  They  disposed  also  of  the 
fortunes  and  the  lives  of  the  citizens,  and  their  oppression  soon 
became  intolerable.  Reduced  to  despair,  the  oppressed  people  fre- 
quently had  recourse  to  arms  ;  they  recalled  their  ancient  franchises, 
requested  guarantees  for  their  property  and  persons,  and  took  advan- 
tage of  the  avidity  of  the  nobles  either  to  buy  back  again  or  conquer 
their  liberties. 

The  period  when  the  energy  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  towns  roused 
L  itself  coincides  with  that  of  the  first  Crusade  ;  that  event 


of  the  communes.  ^^  a  powerful  though  indirect  influence  upon  the  enter- 
prise, and  was  favourable  to  it.  The  nobles  needed  gold  for  their 
distant  expeditions  ;  large  numbers  consented,  on  receiving  consider- 
able sums  of  money,  to  resign  an  authority  which  a  great  portion  of 
them  had  usurped.  They  quitted  France  for  a  lengthened  period, 
taking  with  them  in  their  suite  a  multitude  of  knights,  who,  under 
their  orders,  had  been  the  terror  of  both  town  and  country.  The 
absence  of  the  oppressing  party  or  the  weakening  of  their  numbers 
favoured  the  citizens  in  their  attempts  at  independence  ;  but  they  did 
not  unite  everywhere  so  easily.  Many  towns,  after  having  bought 
their  franchises,  were  obliged  to  resort  to  arms  in  order  to  preserve  them. 
These  liberties  differed  slightly  from  those  which  secured  municipal 
institutions;  but  they  gave  to  those  holding  them  a  certain  extension 
and  offered  more  guarantee.  Citizens  obtained  by  them  the  right  to 
form  conjurations  or  communes,  that  is  to  say,  to  defend  themselves 

1226-1270]  ENFRANCHISEMENT    OF   THE    COMMUNES.  195 

with  arms,  to  elect  their  mayors,  their  civil  magistrates,  their  council- 
men,  to  assess  their  own  taxes,  to  dispense  justice,  and  manage  their 
own  public  affairs  as  they  pleased.  The  engagements  which  they 
undertook  amongst  them  indicated  a  deep  feeling  for  the  rights  of 
humanity,  and  their  oath  had  a  grand  character  of  -independence  and 
energy.  They  assembled  in  the  principal  church  or  in  the  market- 
place, and  there  they  swore  on  holy  relics  that  they  would  support 
each  other.  All  those  who  bound  themselves  in  this  manner  took 
the  name  of  communiers  or  of  jures,  and  these  titles  expressed  the 
idea  of  reciprocal  devotedness.  The  liberties  which  they  asked  for, 
however,  were  not  political  liberties,  such  as  we  understand  them  at 
the  present  day.  They  did  not  request  the  power  to  make  laws  and 
participate  in  the  government  of  the  State,  they  wished  to  obtain  strong 
guarantees  against  servitude,  and  to  free  themselves  from  an  insup- 
portable tyranny.  They  demanded  the  right  to  acquire  property  and 
preserve  it,  to  live  in  security  under  established  laws,  and  lastly,  that 
civil  liberty  which  at  the  present  day  social  progress  assures  to  every 
citizen  in  nearly  every  part  of  Europe. 

After  being  constituted,  the. first  act  of  a  commune  was  to  choose  a 
tower  in  order  to  establish  a  bell  or  belfry,  and  the  first  clause  of  the 
oath  taken  by  the  inhabitants  was  the  obligation  to  repair  to  the 
public  place  of  the  town,  fully  armed,  as  soon  as  the  sound  of  this  bell 
was  heard.  The  communes  enfranchised  by  the  nobles  engaged 
generally  to  give  them  a  part  of  the  harvests,  to  pay  a  rent  for  each 
person,  and  another  for  each  room  in  their  house,  and  the  monopoly 
of  the  mills  and  ovens,  while  the  inhabitants  were  bound  to  a  personal 
service  of  a  fixed  number  of  days.  Lastly,  the  merchants  were  obliged 
to  hold  an  open  credit  with  their  ancient  master,  up  to  a  certain  sum. 
Notwithstanding  these  hard  conditions,  and  the  most  solemn  oaths, 
a  great  number  of  nobles  wished  to  break  the  treaties,  the  price  of 
which  they  had  spent,  as  soon  as  they  felt  powerful  enough  to  violate 
them  with  impunity.  The  citizens  struggled  almost  everywhere  with 
courage,  but  they  understood  the  necessity  of  obtaining  a  sanction 
which  would  be  respected  by  the  nobles  themselves.  They  appealed  to 
the  kings,  and  prayed  to  be  delivered  from  the  charters  of  enfranchise- 
ment, and  to  be  taken  under  their  protection.  The  kings  of  France 
saw  in  this  demand  a  source  of  riches  for  themselves  and  a  means  of 

o  2 

196  ENFRANCHISEMENT    OP   THE    COMMUNES.    [Book  I.  Chap.  VI, 

patronage  directly  opposed  to  the  nobles,  whom  they  distrusted  ;  they 
sold,  then,  their  support  to  the  communes  of  the  kingdom,  and  so 
added  much  to  their  own  authority.  Louis  YI.  was  the  first  who 
granted  these  charters,  but  he  did  not  create  the  communes,  nor  did 
he  enfranchise  their  inhabitants.  The  towns  conquered  their  liberties 
for  themselves,  and  the  King  only  made  legitimate  liberties  already 
obtained,  by  selling  his  supreme  sanction.  These  royal  acts,  done  with 
that  special  motive,  strengthened  the  monarchy,  by  uniting  its  cause 
with  that  of  the  people.  But  at  this  period  the  effective  royal  power 
only  made  itself  felt  between  the  Somme  and  the  Loire,  and  the  only 
towns  to  which  Louis  VI.  sold  his  charters  were  Beauvais,  Noyou, 
Soissons,  Amiens,  Saint- Riquier,  Saint- Que ntin,  and  Abbeville.  In 
the  other  parts  of  France  proper,  the  kings,  until  the  time  of  Saint 
Louis,  had  no  part  in  the  maintenance  of  the  liberties  of  the  communes, 
as  the  counts  would  not  suffer  the  royal  intervention. 

In  the  towns  of  the  southern  country  the  establishment  of  communes 
met  with  fewer  obstacles  than  in  the  north,  the  struggle  was  shorter, 
and  the  success  more  decisive ;  the  feudal  system  laid  itself  less  heavily 
upon  them ;  while  the  greater  part  preserved  something  of  the  ancient 
municipal  institutions  which  Rome  had  bestowed  on  them.  These 
flourishing  towns,  such  as  Aries,  Narbonne,  and  Toulouse,  kept  up, 
besides,  frequent  commercial  relations  with  the  cities  of  Lombardy, 
where  the  republican  spirit  commenced  to  rule,  and  we  see  rapidly  the 
consulat  municipal  *  pass  from  Italy  into  southern  France :  there  the 
commercial  system  only  helped  to  develope  and  guarantee  the  liberty 
of  the  citizens. 

We  have  seen  the  restrictions  brought  to  bear  by  Saint  Louis  on  the 
independence  of  the  towns  which  he  preserved  from  anarchy  by 
maintaining  there  the  royal  authority  :  wisely  checked,  the  communal 
revolution  was  fruitful  in  happy  results.  The  country  gentlemen  living 
near  the  towns  envied  the  fate  of  their  inhabitants  ;  a  large  number  of 
them  abandoned  their  seigneurial  lands,  in  order  to  become  themselves 
members  of  the  communes,  and  many  towns,  of  which  the  population 
increased  by  this  means,  placed  their  walls  farther  back.     It  was  in 

*  Until  the  French  Revolution,  the  name  of  consul  was  preserved  by  the  municipal 
magistrates  of  the  towns  of  the  south.  At  Toulouse  the  hotel-de-ville  is  still  called  the 

1226-1270]  INFLUENCE   OF  THE   CRUSADES.  197 

this  manner  that  the  power  of  the  cities  increased  by  degrees,  while 
that  of  the  chateaux  was  enfeebled.  When  each  person  in  the  towns 
had  obtained  security  for  his  life,  for  his  fortune,  and  for  the  free  enjoy- 
ment of  the  fruits  of  his  work,  industry  arose  and  commerce  extended 
itself.  The  bourgeois  class  became  every  day  stronger,  richer,  more 
respectable  ;  the  general  feeling  of  ease  increased,  and  civilization  made 
rapid  steps.  This  progress  was  more  perceptible  and  more  prompt  in 
Flanders  than  in  the  other  countries  of  the  north.  The  maritime 
situation  of  most  of  the  great  cities  favoured  the  establishment  of 
manufactories  which  enriched  the  citizens,  and  accustomed  them  at 
all  times  to  unite  together  all  their  efforts  against  ravages  by  sea. 
After  having  ascertained  that  it  was  sufficient  for  them  to  associate 
together  to  rule  the  ocean,  they  were  all  prepared  to  unite  in  order 
to  struggle  against  feudal  oppression  and  to  triumph  over  ifc. 

But  among   all  the  events  which  characterized  the  eleventh  and 
twelfth  centuries,  those  which  ruled  the  epoch,  and  which  exercised 
the  greatest  influence  upon  the  spirit,  the  manners,  and 
the  existence  of  all  classes  of  the  nation,  were  the  Crusades,    crusades  upon 


Until  then  the  wild  valour  of  the  warriors  of  the  East, 
excited  by  a  thirst  for  domination  and  riches,  had  only  had  for  its 
aim  conquests  of  a  material  kind.  The  Crusades  in  the  Holy  Land  did 
not  soften  the  soldier-rudeness  of  manners  ;  but  they  gave  to  courage 
a  more  noble  and  more  elevated  aim.  They  spiritualized  its  origin. 
Men  accustomed  themselves  to  fight,  to  undergo  the  most  cruel  priva- 
tions, to  give  their  lives  for  something  that  was  immaterial  and  ideal, 
for  a  cause  that  elevated  their  souls  ;  they  felt  themselves  destined  for 
another  end  than  that  of  gratifying  their  own  gross  inclinations. 
Those  distant  expeditions,  in  transporting  innumerable  multitudes  to 
so  great  a  distance  from  their  country,  weakened  the  national  hates  and 
prejudices  of  the  different  classes.  It  was  impossible  that  so  many 
men,  armed  for  the  same  cause,  could  close  their  hearts  to  all 
sentiment  of  fraternity.  The  manners  of  the  nobility,  above  all,  proved 
the  happy  effects  of  the  Crusades.  The  religious  enthusiasm  gave 
birth  to  chivalry,  which  shone  forth  with  the  most  sparkling 
brilliancy  at  the  end  of  this  epoch.  To  serve  God,  and 
to  cherish  and  respect  his  lady,  to  defend  intrepidly,  lance  in  hand, 
towards  and  against  all,  this  double  object  of  an  enthusiastic  worship, — 


such  was  tlie  duty  of  a  preuas  chevalier.  Domesticity  was  considered 
noble  service ;  the  court  of  the  sovereign,  the  castles  of  the  nobles, 
became  schools  where  young  gentlemen  learnt  to  serve  under  the  names 
of  varlets,  gallants,  knights,  and  to  merit  also  themselves  the  supreme 
honour  of  chivalry.  The  study  of  letters  or  science  did  not  enter  into 
the  education  of  a  gentleman,  who  passed  for  an  accomplished  man 
when  he  knew  how  to  pray  to  Grod,  to  serve  the  ladies,  to  fight,  to  hunt, 
and  to  manage  his  horse  and  lance.  Beyond  that  his  ignorance  was 
absolute,  and  we  must  attribute,  above  all  things,  to  the  want  of 
intellectual  instruction,  the  singular  mixture  of  fanatical  superstition, 
brutal  violence,  sincere  purity,  enthusiasm  for  women,  and  the  mixture 
of  courtesy  and  ferocity  which  the  chivalresque  character  displayed  for 
so  long  a  time. 

It  is  to  the  first  Crusade  that  we  must  go  back  for  the  usages 
Armorial  bear-  concerning  the  family  names  of  the  nobility.  It  was 
ings.  Heraldry,  necessary  in  these  immense  collections  of  men  of  many 
nations,  that  every  knight  should  be  recognized  by  a  name  that  should 
be  proper  to  himself,  and  for  the  most  part  they  adopted  that  of  them 
fief.  Armorial  bearings  and  heraldic  emblems  are  of  the  same  date. 
An  extraordinary  brilliancy  was  connected  in  public  opinion  with  the 
exploits  of  the  Crusades.  The  nobles,  in  order  to  perpetuate  the  remem- 
brance of  them,  placed  in  their  castles,  in  the  most  conspicuous  place, 
the  banners  under  which  they  had  fought  in  the  Holy  Land  ;  they  were 
the  monuments  of  their  glory,  and  the  members  of  their  families,  on 
going  out  themselves,  communicated  these  signs  of  illustration.  The 
ladies  embroidered  the  device  on  their  furniture,  on  their  robes,  and  on 
those  of  their  husbands ;  the  warriors  caused  them  to  be  painted  upon 
their  shields,  and  indicated  in  an  abridged  manner  the  exploits  that 
these  ensigns  recalled.  An  arch  signified  a  bridge  defended  or  taken  ; 
by  a  battlement,  a  tower  was  designated ;  by  a  helmet,  the  complete 
armour  of  a  vanquished  enemy.  Each  of  these  distinctive  signs 
became  the  escutcheon  of  a  family,  and  the  domestics  exhibited  them- 
selves bedizened  with  it  on  the  occasion  of  ceremonies.  Heraldry  was 
the  art  of  interpreting  these  emblems  ;  it  was  in  principle  a  species 
of  language  by  which  alliances  and  rights  to  public  esteem  were 
made  known. 

The  first  essays  of  French  poetry  belong  to  this  time.     The  trouveres- 

1226-1270]  POETRY.      FINE   ARTS.  199 

in  the  north,  and  the  troubadours  in  the  south,  composed  songs  which 
the  minstrels  or  singers  recited  from  castle  to  castle,  accompanying 
themselves  on  instruments.  The  trouveres  were  distinguished  above 
all  in  the  epic  style.  The  adventures  of  the  Crusades  or  some  mar- 
vellous legend  inspired  them.  Their  most  celebrated  works  are  : 
U  Alexandre,  by  Alexandre  de  Bernay  (the  originator  of  the  Alex- 
andrine verse)  ;  Gerard  de  Nevers,  by  Gilbert  de  Montreuil ;  Garin 
le  Loherain,  by  Jehan  de  Flagy ;  and  above  all  the  famous  Homan  de 
la  Hose,  or  the  Art  of  Loving,  by  Guillaume  de  Lorris  and  Jean 
de  Meung.  To  them  also  we  are  indebted  for  several  lays,  virelays, 
and  fables,  remarkable  for  their  natural  grace. 

The  troubadours,  on  the  contrary,  among  whom  we  reckon 
Bertrand  de  Born,  Raimond  Beranger,  Arnauld  Daniel,  William  IX. 
Count  of  Poictiers,  cultivated  in  preference  the  lyric  style,  which 
they  named  the  "gay  science." 

The  French  language  then  disengaged  itself  from  the  Latin  forms, 
and  became  that  of  the  legists,  of  the  chroniclers  and  romancers,  or 
trouveres.  The  Assises  or  laws  of  the  kingdom  of  Jerusalem  were 
written  in  this  language,  so  also  were  the  chronicles  of  Ville-Hardouin, 
Marshal  of  Champagne,  who  describes  the  fourth  Crusade  ;  and  that  of 
the  Sire  de  Joinville,  a  biography  of  Saint  Louis.  This  latter  work, 
charmingly  written,  is  perhaps  the  most  curious  monument  of  the 
French  language  in  the  thirteenth  century. 

The  arts  also  made  progress  during  the  period  of  the  Crusades.    We 
see  these  arising  in  several  of  the  most  curious  monu- 
ments  of  architecture,  called  Ogival,  which  we  admire  in   Sculpture, 
the  Gothic  cathedrals.     These  were  decorated  with  the 
productions  of  a  statuary,  coarse  as  yet,  but  full  of  originality,  and  by 
the  rich  paintings  which  illuminate  their  glass,  of  which  the  secret,  it 
is  said,  goes  back  as  far  as  the  tenth  century.     The  greatest  progress 
in  painting  at  this  period  manifested  itself  in  the  chefs-d'oeuvre  in 
miniature  which  decorated  the  missals  and  the  livres  d'heures,  of  which 
a  great  number  have  been  handed  down  from  age  to  age,  and  are 
still  admired  at  the  present  day. 

Tournaments  also  date  their  birth  from  the  same  period.     These 
military   games    were    intimately    connected    with    the 
manners  of  chivalry.     The   times  which  preceded   and 
followed   that   of   chivalry    offer  nothing   resembling   them.     People 

200  TOURNAMENTS.      RELIGIOUS   ORDERS.  [Book  I.^Chap.  VI. 

hurried  from  all  parts  of  the  kingdom,  as  to  national  fetes ;  gentle- 
men fought  there  armed  cap-a-pie,  with  lances,  axes,  and  swords,  of 
which  the  steel  had  been  blunted ;  sometimes  the  combat  was  allowed 
to  proceed  to  extremity.  The  cavaliers  sought  to  surpass  each  other  in 
the  games,  not  only  in  magnificence  but  in  strength,  in  address,  and  in 
courage.  They  appeared  there  distinguished  by  their  mottoes,  under 
the  eyes  of  kings,  of  princes,  and  of  ladies,  the  applause  of  whom  they 
were  ambitious  to  gain  :  the  ladies  gave  the  prizes  to  the  victors.  The 
tournaments  were  regulated  by  a  particular  legislation,  of  which  the 
principal  author  was  Geoffroi  de  Preuilly. 

The  most  celebrated  religious  military  orders  were  founded  by  the 

French  on  the  occasion  of  the  first  Crusade,  and  from  France  they 

spread  themselves  over  the  whole  of  Europe.     The  first 

Religious  Orders.  *„  . 

were  the  Hospitallers  of  Saint  John  and  the  Temjylars  ; 
they  devoted  themselves  humbly  to  the  service  of  the  Holy  Land,  and 
from  soldier-monks?  as  they  were  at  first,  they  became  sovereigns.  A 
third  order,  that  of  the  Antonines,  consecrated  themselves  to  the  relief 
of  those  who  were  attacked  by  a  species  of  plague  called  holy  fire.  It 
is  to  Christian  charity  that  humanity  was  indebted  for  the  foundation 
of  Ecclesiastical  Orders,  which,  for  the  most  part,  enriched  at  last  by 
pious  largesses,  deviated  from,  their  aim?  and  degenerated  from  their 
holy  origin.  The  orders  of  Hospitallers,  instituted  for  the  purpose  of 
ransoming  prisoners  taken  by  the  Infidels,  and  for  the  relief  of  the 
sick,  were  founded  later ;  also  the  celebrated  order  of  the  Dominicans 
or  Freres  precheurs,  and  also  that  of  the  Franciscans  or  Cordeliers,  so 
called  from  the  cord  which  served  them  for  a  girdle.  These  two  last 
were  called  mendicant  orders,  because  they  made  a  vow  of  poverty  and 
lived  upon  alms,  according  to  the  formal  instructions  of  their  illus- 
trious founders  Saint  Francois  d'Assise  and  Saint  Dominique  de  Guz- 
man. They  acquired  great  power  in  a  short  time  ;  in  virtue  of  papal 
commissions  they  preached,  administered  the  sacraments,  and  directed 
the  consciences  of  kings  and  people,  thus  taking  away  by  degrees  all 
the  functions  of  the  bishops  and  of  the  secular  clergy.*  Not  having 
anything,  they  possess  all  things,  said  the  chancellor  Pierre  des  Yignes 

*  The  secular  clergy  was  so  called  because  it  lived  in  the  world,  in  the  siecle.  It 
was  composed  of  all  the  ecclesiastics  who  were  not  under  vows  in  a  religious  community. 
The  ecclesiastical  members  of  communities,  or  inhabitauts  of  convents,  composed  the 
regular  clergy. 

1226-1270]  COMMERCE.  201 

to  the  Emperor  Frederic  II.  They  sapped  into  the  bases  of  the 
ancient  hierarchy  of  the  Church ;  for  they  annulled  in  some  sort  the 
power  of  the  bishops,  whose  authority  they  braved.  They  wished 
also  to  direct  the  schools  and  to  take  to  themselves  the  chairs  of  the 
University,  where  the  secular  clergy  still  ruled.  The  g  le  f 
latter  resisted,  and  an  obstinate  struggle  resulted.  The  ordersT^ainst 
dispute  lasted  thirty  years,  and  was  prolonged  during  a  the  Universlty- 
large  portion  of  the  reign  of  Saint  Louis.  At  last,  after  lengthened 
storms  and  reciprocal  excommunications,  the  University  was  com- 
pelled to  yield  by  Pope  Alexander  IY.  The  mendicant  orders 
obtained  some  of  the  chairs  in  the  schools,  and  the  University  con- 
ferred the  grade  of  Doctor  upon  two  illustrious  members  of  these 
orders,  on  the  Franciscan,  Bonaventura,  and  on  the  Dominican, 
Saint  Thomas  dAquinas,  who  was  surnamed  the  Angel  of  the  School, 
and  whose  theological  writings  excited  the  enthusiastic  admiration 
of  his  contemporaries. 

The  religious  movement  of  the  Crusades  was  very  favourable  to 
this  prodigious  increase  of  the  power  of  the  monks,  and  provoked 
the  establishment  of  a  multitude  of  pious  foundations.  The  vast 
and  magnificent  monasteries  of  Cluny  and  Citeaux  were  gorged  with 
wealth ;  they  served  as  places  of  assembly  for  the  nobility,  and  the 
abbes  were  admitted  into  the  councils  of  the  kings. 

The  Crusades  communicated  in  everything  a  lively  and  strong 
impulse  to  civilization  and  to  manners.  Propitious  to  the  enfran- 
chisement of  the  communes,  they  favoured  also  the  progress  of  the 
bourgeoisie  by  the  extension  which  they  gave  to  commerce.  The 
delicacies  of  the  Bast  caused  new  wants  to  arise ;  the    _ 

'  Commerce. 

merchants,  hitherto  despised,  acquired  more  considera-  Industiy- 
tion,  and  formed  the  link  between  Europe  and  Asia.  Maritime  com- 
merce, above  all,  which  scarcely  existed  before  the  Crusades,  acquired 
by  them  a  very  vast  development ;  European  industry  gained  equally 
by  the  expeditions  of  the  Crusaders.  Silk  stuffs,  spices,  perfumes,  and 
the  other  treasures  of  the  East,  were  known  in  Europe  from  the  time 
of  the  Carlovingians ;  but  they  were  only  seen  in  the  courts  of  princes 
or  the  dwellings  of  the  great.  During  this  period  the  art  of  dyeing 
the  tissues  of  silk  was  brought  to  perfection,  and  amongst  the  principal 
conquests  of  industry  in  the  thirteenth  century  we  must  reckon  saffron, 

202  THE  SERFS.  [Book  I.  Chap.  VI. 

indigo,  the  sugar-cane,  and  the  art  of  extracting  its  precious  contents. 
The  rich  tissues  of  Damascus,  the  glass  of  Tyre,  imitated  in  Venice, 
and  which  was  afterwards  substituted  for  metallic  mirrors,  windmills, 
and  cotton  stuffs,  were  also  made  known  at  this  period  to  Europeans, 
who  learnt  at  the  same  time  damaskeening,  the  engraving  of  seals  and 
money,  and  the  manner  of  applying  enamel  to  metals.  The  towns 
had  become,  partly  by  the  effect  of  the  Crusades,  the  centres  of  free 
„  ,  „.       activity,  of  commerce,  and  of  wealth  ;  luxury  extended 

Progress  of  the  J '  '  J 

Third  Estate.  itself  in  every  direction.  The  manner  of  living,  of  fur- 
nishing, of  feeding,  became  different ;  ease  increased  in  the  houses  of 
the  nobles  and  the  bourgeoisie,  and  the  Third  Estate  made  with  these 
rapid  progress. 

In  all  the  towns  workmen  of  different  professions  formed  particular 
associations,  called  corporations,  in  which  the  members 
found  a  support  in  one  another,  and  an  assistance  for 
the  aged,  the  widows,  and  the  orphans.  Each  of  these  was  instituted 
under  the  invocation  of  a  saint,  who  was  looked  upon  as  its  patron. 
They  had  all  chiefs,  and  syndics  or  juries,  who  prevented  frauds  and 
watched  the  observation  of  the  rules.  These  assured  to  the  members 
of  each  corporation  the  monopoly  of  their  industry  after  a  long  and 
severe  apprenticeship.  The  rules  of  Saint  Louis  constituted  the  chiefs 
of  the  trades  the  police  of  their  corporation,  and  rendered  them 
responsible  for  the  disorders  committed  in  their  body. 

The  last  and  most  numerous  class  of  the  nation  was  that  which 
received  the  least  advantages  from  these    expeditions ; 

Thfi  serfs 

nevertheless,  the  unfortunate  serfs  were  not  total  strangers 
to  their  results.  The  Popes  decided  that  no  Christian,  in  whatever 
condition  he  might  be  born,  could  be  prevented  from  taking  up  the 
Cross  and  departing  for  the  Holy  Land.  This  was  to  sever  at  one 
blow  the  ties  which  bound  the  serfs  to  the  glebe  or  the  land  of  their 
lord.  It  admitted  them  to  a  species  of  fraternity  in  arms,  and  dis- 
played to  their  eyes  the  consoling  sentiment  of  their  individual  dignity 
as  members  of  the  human  family.  But  although  these  peasants,  who 
had  become  soldiers  of  the  Church,  obtained  their  enfranchisement,  the 
establishment  of  a  free  class  of  peasants  did  not  follow  as  a  result. 
Of  that  great  multitude  of  men  who  left  for  Palestine,  only  a  small 
number  returned  to  their  country ;  the  greater  part  perished  of  misery, 

1226-1270]  ABEILARD.  203 

of  fatigue,  and  of  excess,  or  were  cut  down  by  the  scimitars  of  the 

The   human  mind,   stimulated  by  different   and   powerful   causes, 
made  notable  progress  during  the  period  of  the  Crusades  ;  and  already, 
under  Louis  VI.,  the  schools  of  Paris  had  attained  great 
celebrity.     This   was  the   first   epoch  of  scholastic  phi- 
losophy* only  taught  from  the  chairs  of  the  University,  and  of  the 
famous   quarrels    between  the   philosophic   sect   of  the 
'Realists  and    that    of    the   Nominate.      The   first   only  Realists  and  of 
admitted  reality  in  that  which  they  called  the  universaux, 
that  is  to  say,  general  ideas,  collective  beings,  and  attached  itself  to  the 
Platonic   theories ;  the   second   only  saw   in   the   universauoc,  words, 
names,  simple  abstractions  of  the  mind,  and  depended  in  preference 
on  the  theories  of  Aristotle.     These  two  schools  had  for  their  chiefs 
two  men  of  great  renown.     Roscelin  de   Compiegne  professed  with 
brilliancy,  in  the  twelfth  century,  the  doctrine  of  the  JVominals,  while 
his  realistic  adversary,  Gruillaume  de  Champeaux,  was  director  of  the 
school  of  the  cloister,  Notre  Dame,  at  Paris.      Then  appeared  the 
Breton,    Pierre   Abeilard,    as   much   celebrated    for  his 
amours  with  Heloise  and  by  his  own  misfortunes,  as  by 
his  science  and  his  immortal  genius.     Profound  logician,  without  a 
rival  in  dialectics,  and  of  a  marvellous  eloquence,  Abeilard  shone  forth 
in  the  first  ranks  of  the  JVominals.   His  prodigious  success  in  philosophy 
did   not  shake  his  religious  and  Christian  faith;  but  he  wished  to 
submit   the   Catholic    dogmas   to    analysis,  to    comment   upon   them 
reasonably.      His  principles  upon  different   points  of  theology,   and 
among  others  upon  Free   Will,  appeared  to  be  in  opposition  to  the 
decisions  of  the  councils,  and  for  the  first  time  he  was  condemned  by 
the  Council  of  Soissons  for  having  taught  without  previously  obtain- 
ing  the  approbation  of  the  Pope  and  of  the  Church.     Abeilard  retired 
into  the  solitary,  sandy  district  of  Champagne,  where  he  raised  with 
his  own  hands  an  oratory,  composed   of  thatch  and  rushes,  which 
afterwards  became  the  celebrated  Abbey  of  Paracleti      His  disciples, 
and  among  them  the   illustrious  Arnold  of  Brescia,  discovered  his 
retreat ;  they  hurried  from  all  parts  ;  they  braved  the  austerities  of  the 
desert  in  order  to  follow  their  master,  to  hear  his  words,  to  pray  and 

*  The  philosophy  called  scholastic  was  subordinate  in  all  its  affirmations  to  theology. 

204  ABEILARD   AND    SAINT   BERNARD.  [Book  I.  Chap.  YI. 

to  meditate  with  him.  Persecuted,  condemned  afresh,  Abeilard  sought 
a  more  profound  retreat  in  the  Abbey  of  Saint- Gildas,  in  Brittany. 
Then,  suddenly,  braving  his  enemies,  he  reappeared  brilliantly  in 
Paris,  where  his  renown  drew  together  a  number  of  students  from  all 
parts  of  Europe.  His  books  flew  from  hand  to  hand,  his  doctrines 
spread  themselves  from  the  capital  to  the  extremities  of  the  kingdom, 
his  glory  was  at  its  height,  when  a  redoubtable  antagonist  crushed  him 
under  the  thunderbolts  of  the  irritated  Church.  This  was  Saint 
Bernard,  founder  of  the  celebrated  Abbey  of  Clairvaux. 

Stru0*0*^  between 

Abeilard  and  This  illustrious  man  pushed  the  monasterial  austerities  to 
an  almost  unheard-of  rigour,  living  a  life  more  ecstatic 
than  terrestrial.  Bearing  in  a  body  weak,  pale,  reduced  by  watchings 
and  fastings,  an  incomparable  vigour  of  soul,  leaning  his  words  and 
his  acts  on  the  authority  that  gives  the  conviction  of  a  holy  mission 
and  a  supernatural  inspiration,  no  one  exercised  more  power  over  his 
contemporaries  in  an  age  when  the  faith  of  the  people  was  so  strong 
and  their  reason  so  weak.  The  Pope,  the  emperor,  the  kings,  the 
bishops,  the  people,  submitted  to  the  authority  of  his  genius ;  at  one 
time  he  extinguished  a  schism,  or  drew  up  in  the  solitude  of  his  cell  the 
constitution  of  a  religious  order  ;  at  another,  disposing  at  his  pleasure 
of  the  sword  of  kings,  he  directed  their  armies  to  the  east  or  the 
south,  according  to  the  interests  of  the  Church.  His  word,  they  said, 
was  as  a  law  of  fire,  which  went  forth  out  of  his  mouth,  and  every- 
where there  were  reports  of  the  marvellous  cures  which  followed  his 
steps.  This  prodigious  man  taxed  with  pride  the  reason  which 
attempted  to  explore  mysteries ;  he  was  irritated  with  the  efforts  of 
Abeilard  to  explain  inexplicable  dogmas,  and  cried  out  in  the  bitter- 
ness of  his  spirit, — "  They  would  search  even  into  the  entrails,  the 
secrets,  of  God."  A  new  council  assembled  at  Sens,  and  the  two  great 
adversaries  appeared  there  in  presence  of  the  King,  the  princes,  and 
the  bishops  ;  but  Abeilard  foresaw,  without  doubt,  that  the  discussion 
would  not  be  free;  he  declined  the  solemn  debate,  making  an  appeal 
to  the  Pope  as  he  retired  from  it,  and  was  condemned  to  seclusion  in  a 
convent  to  the  end  of  his  days.  Then,  bending  his  head,  he  confessed 
himself  vanquished,  and  concealed  his  life  in  the  monastery  of  Cluny ; 
he  closed  it  in  1142,  in  the  priory  near  to  Chalons,  where  he  died, 
reconciled  with  Saint  Bernard.     He  had  had  to  combat  with  a  far 


1226-1270]  SCIENCE.  205 

niore  redoubtable  adversary  than  that  great  man.  Abeilard  struggled 
all  his  life  against  the  dominant  spirit  of  his  age,  which  regarded 
every  attempt  made  by  human  reason  to  attain  at  independence  as  a 
culpable  insurrection.  The  genius  which  had  animated  him  survived 
him,  but  many  years  passed  away  before  any  part  of  Europe  dared  to 
proclaim  and  admit  the  principle  of  which  Abeilard  could  not  assure 
the  triumph — the  liberty  of  examination  and  discussion  in  matters  of 
conscience  and  of  faith. 

Already,  however,  the  secrets  of  nature  were  studied,  but  the  dark- 
ness was  as  yet  too  profound  to  permit  the  human  mind 


to  attain  its  aim.  The  study  of  mathematics  became 
that  of  astrology.  Medicine  degenerated  into  sorcery,  and  natural 
philosophy  into  alchemy.  Nevertheless,  in  the  midst  of  these  gropings 
in  the  dark,  science  made  some  important  discoveries  :  the  alchemists, 
who  endeavoured  obstinately  to  find  the  grand  ceuvre,  or  the  philoso- 
pher's stone,  discovered  by  chance  various  properties  of  the  bodies 
submitted  to  analysis,  and  the  world  was  enriched  by  these  discoveries, 
which  they  looked  upon  as  nothing.  It  is  thus  that  distillation  was 
brought  to  light,  the  fabrication  of  acids,  salts,  convex  lenses,  and 
lastly,  gunpowder,  the  composition  of  which  was  discovered  by  the 
monk,  Roger  Bacon,  towards  the  close  of  the  thirteenth  century. 

Finally,  many  sciences  are  indebted  to  the  Crusades  for  great  pro- 
gress, among  others  the  military  art,  navigation,  history,  and  geo- 
graphy. The  aspect  of  so  many  different  countries,  the  observation 
of  new  and  varied  manners,  and  the  comparison  of  a  multitude  of 
customs,  extended  the  ideas  of  the  people,  and  uprooted  a  great  number 
of  errors  and  prejudices.  Nevertheless,  a  great  part  of  the  ameliora- 
tions of  which  the  Crusades  were  the  cause  only  manifested  themselves 
very  slowly,  while  others  did  not  bear  their  fruit  until  long  after 
Europe  had  given  up  these  religious  expeditions.  The  Crusades  were 
also  accompanied  and  followed  by  a  great  number  of  calamities,  and 
it  is  necessary  to  recognize  one  of  their  most  mournful  results  in  the 
sanguinary  ardour  which  they  appear  to  have  communicated  to  the 
Christians,  a  disposition  entirely  contrary  to  that  of  the  Divine 
founder  of  their  religion.  The  Christian  people  for  a  long  time  back, 
it  is  true,  regarded  as  accursed  of  Grod  all  those  who  did  not  belong 
to  their  faith ;  the  Crusades  strengthened  this  fatal  tendency  of  their 


minds.  People  who  were  reputed  heretics  were  soon  persecuted  with 
as  much  fury  as  the  Mussulmans  and  Jews,  and  the  extermination  of 
the  Albigenses  opened  the  field  for  a  long  series  of  cruel  wars.  The 
weakness  of  the  progress  of  Christianity  in  the  East,  and  several  of 
the  disasters  among  the  Christians  in  Palestine,  ought  to  be  in  great 
part  attributed  to  the  barbarities  of  the  Crusaders,  who  believed  them- 
selves entitled  to  act  as  they  pleased  towards  infidels,  and  did  not 
consider  themselves  bound  to  keep  their  word  with  them.  They 
forgot  that  the  best  proof  that  men  can  give  of  the  superiority  of 
their  civilization  and  of  the  sanctity  of  their  religion  is  the  respect 
that  they  show  for  virtue  and  truth. 

1270-1422]  ACCESSION   OF   PHILIP   III.  207 




Despotism  op  the  Royal  Government  and  Authority  of  the  Legists. 
— Accession  of  the  Yalois  to  the  Throne. — Hundred  Years' 
War  with  England.  —  The  Celebrated  States-General.  — 
Disasters  in  France. — Great  Schism  of  the  East. — Anarchy. — 





Philip  III. 

The  third  son  of  Saint  Louis,  Philip  III.,  called  without  any  known 
reason  Philip  the  Bold,  did  not  follow  the  glorious  example  of  his 
father  ;  he  reigned  surrounded  by  valets,  and  wholly  given  up  to 
superstitious  practices. 

The  same  day  that  Saint  Louis  died  he  received  Charles  d'Anjou, 
his  uncle,  who  entered  into  the  port  of  Carthage  with  a  fleet  and  an 
army.  Notwithstanding  this  reinforcement  the  Crusaders  rested  in 
inaction,  rightly  accusing  Charles  d'Anjou  of  having  directed  his 
brother  to  Tunis  in  his  own  interest,  so  that  he  might  force  the 
Moorish  king  to  pay  to  him  the  tribute  which  ancient  Neapolitan 
treaties  imposed  upon  him.  Peace  was  concluded  that  year ;  a  large 
sum  of  money  was  handed  over  by  the  African  prince,  and  all  the 
prisoners  given  up.  Then  the  army  returned  to  Europe,  diminished 
to  one-half  by  the  heat,  the  fatigue,  and  the  plague.     In  sight  of  the 

208  INCREASE    OF   THE    ROYAL   DOMAIN.  [Book  II.  Chap.  I. 

coast  of  Sicily,  a  tempest  swallowed  up  eighteen  French  vessels, 
together  with  all  the  rich  tribute  paid  by  the  King  of  Tunis.  The 
Crusaders  saw  in  this  disaster  the  hand  of  God,  which  chastised  them 
for  having  returned  without  visiting  the  Holy  Land.  Philip  re-entered 
France  preceded  by  five  coffins,  those  of  his  father,  his  wife,  his  son, 
his  brother,  the  Count  of  Nevers,  and  of  his  brother-in-law,  Thi- 
baut  II.,  Count  of  Champagne,  King  of  Navarre.  His  uncle  Alphonso* 
died  shortly  afterwards  without  offspring,  and  his  death  made  Philip 
heir  to  the  county  of  Toulouse,  which,  notwithstanding 

Aggrandizement  „  .  . 

of  the  Royal         all  the  disasters  of  the  war  with  the  Albigenses,   was 

Domain.  ,  m 

still  the  most  considerable  fief  m  France.  It  comprised, 
together  with  ancient  Languedoc,  the  Marquisate  of  Provence,  or 
county  of  Venaissin,  the  county  of  Poitiers,  the  land  of  Auvergne, 
the  Aunis,  and  a  part  of  the  Saintonge.  Gregory  X.,  one  of  the  most 
venerable  men  that  ever  occupied  the  Pontifical  throne,  was  elected 
Pope.  Philip  ceded  to  him  the  county  of  Yenaissin,  to  which  he 
himself  had  only  doubtful  rights,  and  engaged  himself  in  wars  of 
Cession  of  the  succession.  Alphonso  X.,  King  of  Leon  and  Castille, 
siTto7  theVpope"  was  dead,  without  having  been  able  to  cause  his  grand- 
1274,  sons  to  be  recognized  as  his  successors ;  they  were  the 

children  of  Ferdinand  of  Cerda,  and  Blanche,  the  daughter  of  Saint 
Louis.  Philip  III.  appealed  in  vain  concerning  their  rights  to  the 
throne  of  their  grandfather.  The  Cortes^  of  Segovia  had  designed 
as  the  successor  of  Alphonso,  Sancho,  his  second  son,  already  cele- 
brated for  his  warlike  talents  5  their  decision  overthrew  all  the  prin- 
ciples of  legitimacy. 

A  thick  cloud  conceals  from  us  the  particular  actions  of  Philip  III. ; 
_.  ,        he  appeared  to  see  and  to  act  only  through  Pierre  de  la 

Disgrace  and  ± r  •>  ° 

execution  of        Brosse,  who  had  been  his  chamberlain,  and  who,  raised 

Pierre  de  la  '  '  ' 

Brosse,  1278.  ky.  J3ase  intrigues  to  the  post  of  prime  minister,  had 
drawn  upon  himself  the  hate  of  all  the  court.  A  bloody  catastrophe 
terminated  the  days  of  that  favourite.  Jealous  of  the  influence  of  the 
Queen,  Marie  de  Brabant,  second  wife  of  the  King,  he  had  accused  her 
of  the  death  of  Prince  Louis,  eldest  son  of  his  first  wife.     Philip 

*  Alphonso,  brother  of  Saint  Louis,  had  married  Jeanne,  daughter  and  heiress  of 
Raymond  VII.,  last  Count  of  Toulouse. 
t  Cortes.     The  national  assemblies  of  Spain  were  so  called. 

1270-1328]  THE   SICILIAN   VESPERS.  209 

ordered  inquiries  to  be  made  on  the  subject.  t  At  that  time  they 
believed  that  they  could  not  find  out  the  authors  of  a  crime  except 
by  the  torture  of  the  accused,  or  by  the  intervention  of  the  celestial 
and  infernal  powers.  Philip  consulted  those  persons  whom  the  super- 
stition of  the  time  looked  upon  as  being  endowed  with  the  power 
of  reading  the  future.  The  Vidame  of  the  Church  of  Laon,  a  Sara- 
baite,*  and  a  nun  of  Nivelles,  were  considered  to  have  revelations. 
All  three  at  once  began  to  give  credence  to  the  reports  spread  about 
against  the  Queen;  but  afterwards  they  retracted,  and  advised  the 
King  to  beware  of  Pierre  de  la  Brosse.  Two  years  passed  away, 
when  one  day  a  monk  brought  to  the  King  at  Milan  letters  sealed 
with  the  seal  of  his  minister.  The  contents  of  these  letters  remain 
a  mystery  ;  but  La  Brosse  was  arrested  immediately  and  thrown  into 
prison.  Philip  appointed  as  his  judges  three  of  the  greatest  nobles  in 
his  court,  his  enemies ;  and  La  Brosse  was  condemned,  and  hanged 
at  the  gibbet  of  Montfaucon  in  1278. 

The  reign  of  Philip  III.  left  no  glorious  souvenir  for  France,  either 
in  the  interior  of  the  kingdom  or  in  foreign  lands,  and  this  period  was 
marked  by  the  frightful  disaster  which  overthrew  the  French  Grovern- 
ment  in  Sicily.  Charles  d'Anjou,  after  having  caused  his  rival,  the 
young  Conradin,  son  of  Conrad  IV.  and  grandson  of  Frederic  II.,  to 
be  condemned  to  death  and  executed,  believed  himself  securely  seated 
upon  his  new  throne.  Conradin  was  the  last  prince  of  the  house  of 
Hohenstaufen ;  his  death  left  the  field  clear  for  Charles  d'Anjou, 
who  from  that  time  believed  that  he  could  oppress  Naples  and  Sicily 
under  a  frightful  tyranny. 

Vengeance  brooded  in  every  heart";  John  of  Procida  became  tho 
soul  of  the  conspiracy :  he  was  certain  of  the  assistance  of  the 
Greek  Emperor,  Michael  Paleologus,  and  of  the  King  of  Aragon,, 
Don  Pedro  III.  The  latter  assembled  together  a  fleet,  which  he 
entrusted  to  the  celebrated  Roger  of  Loria,  his  admiral,  with  the  order 
to  await  events  upon  the  coast  of  Africa.  Suddenly,  on  the  30th  of 
March,  1282,   the  people  of  Palermo   arose  at  the  mo-  -  „,,    „. 

'  x        *■  The  Sicilian 

ment  when  the  vesper  bells  sounded.     At  the  stroke  of  VesPera,  1282. 

*  Monks  who  did  not  live  in  community  and  did  not  submit  themselves  to  any  rule 
were  so  called  ;  they,  however,  wore  the  tonsure  and  gave  themselves  out  a3  rigorists. 
(Du  Cange  :    Glossary.) 

210  DEATH   OF  PHILIP   III.  [BookII.   ChAP.I. 

this  tocsin,  the  French  were  massacred  in  the  streets  of  Palermo,  and 
in  a  month  afterwards  the  same  thing  had  occurred  throughout  the 
whole  of  Sicily.  Charles  d'Anjou,  furious,  attacked  Messina ;  Roger 
of  Loria  came  forward  and  destroyed  his  fleet  under  his  very  eyes. 
Charles  gave  vent  to  cries  of  rage,  and  demanded  vengeance  from 
King  Philip,  his  nephew.  The  Pontiff,  Martin  IV.,  sustained  his 
cause  with  ardour ;  he  declared  Don  Pedro  deprived  of  the  crown  of 
Aragon,  in  order  to  punish  him  for  having  assisted  the  Sicilians,  and 
by  the  same  bull  he  named  Charles  de  Valois,  second  son  of  Philip, 
successor  to  Don  Pedro,  against  whom  he  preached  a  crusade. 
Philip  III.  commanded  the  expedition,  but  it  was  unfortunate  : 
Gironne  opposed  a  long  resistance  to  France,  while  the 

Crusade  of  the  rr  ... 

French  into  King  of  Arag-on,  with   his  faithful  Almogavares  *  half 

Aragon.  °  °  °  ' 

savage  soldiers,  held  the  neighbouring  mountains.  His 
unexpected  and  multiplied  attacks,  together  with  dearth  and  fever, 
mowed  down  the  army  of  Philip  ;  he  returned  to  France  ill  and 
almost  alone,  carried  on  a  litter,   and  expired  in  the  course  of  the 

year.  Charles  d'Anjou  died  shortly  before  him,  through 
Philip  in.,  1284.  disappointment  at  having  lost  Sicily  ;  and  Martin  IV. 
and  the  King  of  Aragon  followed  Philip  closely  to  the  grave. 

During  this  reign,   a  simple  gentleman,  called  Rodolph,  Count  of 

Hapsbure:,   was  elected  Emperor  in  1273,    and  became 

Foundation  of  r  &'  r  ' 

the  imperial         the  founder  of  the  new  house  of  Austria.     One  of  the 

house  of  Haps- 

burg,  1273.  most  remarkable  events  of  this  period  was  the  sudden 

reunion  of  the  Greek  and  Roman  Churches,  effected  by  Gregory  X. 
in  1274,  at  the  second  General  Council  of  Lyons.  The  Emperor, 
Michael  Paleologus,  was  received  by  the  Pope  into  the  number  of  the 
faithful ;  but  the  Greeks  did  not  lend  themselves  to  this  reconciliation, 
which  nearly  cost  the  Emperor  his  life. 


Philip  IV.,  surnamed  the  Fair,  was  sixteen  years  of  age 

Accession  of  '  7^0 

Philip  iv,  1284.    -when  ne  succeeded  to   the  throne  of  Philip  the   Bold, 

*  This  name,   borrowed  from  the  Arabs,  was  applied  in  Catalonia   to  light  infantrj 

1270-1328]  ACCESSION   OF   PHILIP   IV.  "  211 

his  father.      His  extreme  youth  did  not  offer  an   occasion  for  any 
trouble ;    and   such   was  the  progress    of  the    monarchical  spirit  in 
France,  that  the  nobles  of  the  kingdom,  instead  of  claiming  to  be 
either  his  equals  or  masters,   assembled  round  him  as  his  servants. 
Philip  at  once  continued  the  war  against  Aragon,  which  his  brother 
had  commenced,  and  which  was  prolonged  for  many  years   w 
without  any  decisive  success.      It   was   terminated    by   Ara8'on- 
the   Treaty  of  Tarascon,    signed  in  1291,  and  confirmed  by  that  of 
Aragon.     These  treaties  recognized  Alphonso  III.,  son  of 
Pedro   III.,  Kins:   of  Aragon,  and  Charles   II.,   son  of  Tarascon  and  of 

.      .  .  Aragon,  1289. 

Oharles  d'Anjou,  King  of  Naples.  The  new  house  of 
Anjou  was  thus  firmly  established  in  the  possession  of  this  beautiful 
kingdom,  from  which,  however,  Sicily  was  detached  and  given  up  to 
the  sovereigns  of  Aragon.  Charles  II.,  crowned  by  the  Pope,  ceded 
his  hereditary  domains,  Maine  and  Anjou,  to  Charles  de  Yalois,  second 
son  of  Philip  the  Bold. 

The  first  ordinances  of  the  new  King  were  favourable  to  the  bour- 
geoisie and  the  Jews ;  but  Philip,  whose  character  was  hard,  irascible, 
and  rapacious,  put  no  curb  on  his  pride  and  cupidity.  He  oppressed 
his  subjects  without  pity,  and  in  his  exactions  was  supported  by  un- 
principled men  of  law,  notorious  for  their  skill  in  the  art 

-*■  x  Authority  of 

of  chicanery,  as  well  as  for  their  base  servility.  These  the  legists. 
legists,  judges,  councillors,  and  royal  officers,  were,  under  him,  the 
tyrants  of  France  ;  their  work,  however,  in  so  far  as  it  touched  legisla- 
tion, had  a  useful  influence  which  cannot  be  forgotten.  Imbued  with 
the  ideas  of  the  Roman  imperial  law,  they  proceeded  with  an  impas- 
sible perseverance  to  introduce  it  into  the  French  political  law  by 
joining  together  the  privileges  of  the  sovereignty  in  the  sole  hands 
of  the  prince,  and  by  the  equality  of  the  subjects  before  the  law.  In 
civil  law  they  played  the  same  part ;  the  Pandects  always  before  them, 
they  tried  to  introduce  the  same  spirit  of  reason  and  of  natural 
oquity  which  had  inspired  the  great  jurisconsults  of  the  empire.  In 
this  manner  they  demolished  the  social  order,  as  it  had  been  created 
under  the  feudal  system,  organized  at  the  same  time  monarchical 
centralization,  and  became  the  true  founders  of  the  civil  order  in 
modern  times. 

The  court  of  the  King,  or  Parliament,  the  supreme  tribunal  of  the 

p   2 

212  THE    PARLIAMENT    OF   PAEIS.  [BOOK  II.    ChAP.  I, 

Parliament  of  kingdom,  became  the  seat  of  their  power.  This  body-, 
Paris,  1302.  founded  by  Saint  Louis  with  the  political  and  judicial 
privileges  of  the  time,  was  modified  by  Philip  IV. ;  the  judicial 
element  at  this  period  alone  was  preserved.*  The  Parliament  in  the 
meantime  ceased  to  be  itinerant.  An  ordinance  of  the  23rd  of  March, 
J  302,  fixed  it  in  Paris,  and  established  it  in  the  Cite,  at  the  ancient 
palace  of  the  kings,  which  took  from  that  time  the  name  of  the 
Palace  of  Justice.  It  was  composed  of  clerks  and  jurisconsults,  all 
persons  of  the  Third  Estate,  and  it  became  the  focus  of  the  anti- 
feudal  revolution. 

In  order  to  sustain  this  new  form  of  government,  to  make  it 
respected,  and  to  execute  the  judgments  of  the  men  of  law,  it  was 
necessary  to  have  an  imposing  force.  The  King  had  to  pay  a  judicial 
and  administrative  army,  and  the  maintenance  of  the  horse  and  foot 
sergeants  alone  cost  large  sunns,  and  it  was  necessary  to  wrest  this 
money  by  violence  from  the  unfortunate  population.  Thence  sprang- 
the  despotism,  thence  the  cruel  miseries,  which  held  in  suspense  for  so 
long  a  time  the  advantages  of  the  central  and  monarchical  power,  and 
the  barbarous  rule  established  by  the  feudal  government. 

No  prince  employed  more  iniquitous  and  odious  means  of  increasing 
Cui  able  ^s  t,reasmy  than  Philip  the   Fair.      History  recounts  a 

exactions.  thousand  instances  of  his  violent  and  cruel  extortions. 
The  revenues  of  most  of  the  provinces  were  pledged  to  two  Italian 
brothers,  rich  traders,  for  the  price  of  supplies  which  they  had  fur- 
nished to  the  King.  He,  in  order  to  settle  with  them,  caused  all  the- 
Italian  bankers  and  traders  to  be  arrested  on  the  same  day,  under  the 
pretext  of  usurious  traffic,  and  compelled  them  to  redeem  themselves 
from  torture  at  an  enormous  sum.  He  renewed  this  execrable  expe- 
dient on  the  French,  and  the  tribunals  were  the  accomplices  of  his 
hateful  violence. 

This  king,  far  from  warlike,  saw  without  emotion  the  disasters 
among  the  Christians,  and  the  capture  of  Saint  Jean  d'Acre,  their  last 
stronghold  in  Palestine.  He  had  obtained  from  the  Pope  the  per- 
mission to  levy  tithes  upon  the  clergy  for  the  purpose  of  undertaking 
a  crusade  ;  but  this  impost  only  profited  himself,  and  he  alone  reaped 

*  It  was  not  so  in  the  course  of  time ;  and  a  century  later,  the  Parliament  recovered  by 
union  with  the  Court  of  Peers  its  political  privileges. 

1270-1328]  WAR  IN   GUIENNE.  213 

the  produce.  The  successes  of  Edward  I.,  King  of  England,  troubled 
.him  more.  That  prince,  at  the  death  of  Alexander  III.,  King  of 
Scotland,  caused  himself  to  be  recognized  as  arbiter  be-  Troubleg . 
tween  the  aspirants  to  the  throne,  and  had  awarded  it  Scotland- 
to  John  Baliol,  whose  weakness  he  knew.  He  threatened  to  invade 
that  kingdom,  when  Philip  caused  him  to  be  summoned  before  the 
Parliament  of  Paris  as  his  vassal  for  Aquitaine.  Peace  had  reigned 
for  thirty-five  years  between  the  two  crowns,  and  Philip,  in  sum- 
moning his  powerful  rival  to  appear,  alleged  as  a  pretext  certain 
troubles  caused  by  the  rivalry  of  commerce  between  the  two  nations. 
Edward,  indignant,  stirred  up  as  enemies  to  France,  Adolph  of 
Nassau,  King  of  the  Romans,*  and  Guy  de  Dampierre,  Count  of 
Flanders.     But  Philip  seized  the  daughter  of  that  count 

War  in  Guienne.. 

by  treachery,  and  held  her  as  a  hostage,  while  a  French 
army  invaded  Guienne,  of  which  Philip  the  Fair  took  possession.     He 
pledged  himself,  on  the  other  side,  to  King  Baliol  to  take  up  arms, 
-and  support  the  celebrated  Scotchman,  William  Wallace,  against  the 
F]nglish  monarch. 

He  afterwards  formed  an  alliance  with  the  revolted  Flemings,  and 
excited  Albert  of  Austria,  son  of  Rodolph  of  Hapsburg,  to  take  up 
arms  against  Adolph  of  Nassau.  Many  of  the  electors  of  the  empire 
supported  him.  Adolph  of  Nassau  was  slain,  or  perhaps  assassinated, 
in  a  battle ;  Albert  of  Austria  succeeded  him  in  the  empire,  and  de- 
fended the  interests  of  France.  Philip  the  Fair  displayed  remarkable 
talent  in  all  these  negotiations.  Edward,  pressed  on  all  sides,  proposed 
to  Philip  to  submit  their  differences  to  the  decision  of  Pope  Boni- 
face VIII.  That  Pontiff  was,  in  some  respects,  indebted 
for  his  tiara  to  the  King  of  France,  who  accepted  him  as   arbiter 


arbiter.  Boniface  pronounced  in  his  favour,  and  only  Edward  i.  and 
ordered  the  restitution  of  a  part  of  the  lands  confiscated 
under  Edward.  He  imposed  a  long  truce  between  the  two  kings,  and 
united  their  interests  by  means  of  marriages.  The  King  of  England 
abandoned  the  Count  of  Flanders,  and  Philip  no  longer  defended 
Scotland,  which  Edward  seized  for  the  second  time.  The  French 
.monarch  then,  with  flattering  promises,  invited  the  Count  of  Flanders 
to  place  himself  at  his  discretion.     That  unfortunate  nobleman  gave 

*  The  term  "King  of  the   Romans"  was  applied  to  th    chief  elected  for  the  empira 
&i  Germany  before  his  coronation  by  the  Pope. 

214  WAE    IN    FLANDERS.  [BOOK  II.   ChAP.  I. 

himself  up  with  confidence  to  the  King.     He  was  immediately  thrown 

Confiscation  of      *D^°  Prison?  arLd  all  his  states  were  seized  by  Philip,  who 

pianders.  gave  to  ^  FiemingS  Jacques  de  Chatillon  for  a  governor. 

The  French  gentlemen  despised  the  bourgeois  of  that  industrious 

country,  and  believed  that  they  had  the  right  to  despoil  them.     The 

tyranny   which   they   exercised    excited    the    people    of 

Revolt  of  the  tti        -i  i  mi 

Flemings,  1301.      ±  landers  to  revolt.     The  trades  corporations  assembled 

War  in  Flanders. 

together,  massacred  the  French  in  Bruges,  and  in  the 
other  towns,  restoring  independence  to  their  country.  The  Flemish 
militia  occupied  Courtray,  in  front  of  which  town  the  French  army 
Battle  of  Cour-  was  encanTPe(l.  They  went  out  to  meet  it,  and  waited 
cJ3eatSoTthenary  bravely  f°r  the  battle.  The  Flemings  attended  mass  and 
French,  1302.  took  the  sacrament  together.  The  knights  who  were  with 
them  embraced  the  chiefs  of  the  trades.  They  gave  no  quarter  to  the 
French,  and  repeated  that  Chatillon  was  coming  with  casks  full  of  cords 
to  hang  them  with.  The  Constable,  Raoul  de  Nesle,  proposed  to  turn 
the  flank  of  the  Flemings  by  cutting  them  off  from  Courtray ;  but  the 
cousin  of  the  King,  Robert  d'Artois,  was  indignant  at  this  prudent 
counsel,  and  asked  him  if  he  was  afraid  of  the  Flemings,  or  whether 
he  had  an  understanding  with  them.  The  Constable,  son-in-law  of 
the  Count  of  Flanders,  answered  haughtily — "  Sir,  if  you  come  where- 
I  shall  go,  you  will  be  well  in  front,"  and  then  rushed  forward  blindly 
at  the  head  of  his  cavalry.  Each  one  wished  to  follow  him,  those 
behind  pressing  on  those  before.  On  approaching  the  Flemish  army 
they  found  a  ditch  five  fathoms  deep,  into  which  they  fell  huddled 
together,  and  pierced  through  by  the  stakes  of  the  enemy.  In  that 
spot  was  interred  the  flower  of  the  chivalry  of  France  —  Artoisr 
Chatillon,  Nesle,  Aumale,  Dammartin,  Dreux,  Tancarville,  and  a 
crowd  of  others.  The  Flemings  had  only  the  trouble  of  killing  them. 
— smashing  in  the  heads  of  the  conquered  with  iron  mallets.  This 
defeat  weakened  the  feudal  power  in  France,  and  strengthened  royalty. 
Philip  resolved  to  avenge  in  person  the  affronts  on  his  nobility  at 
Courtray.  He  entered  Flanders  at  the  head  of  a  powerful  army,  and 
victories  of  the  occupied  Tournay.  His  fleet,  united  with  a  Genoese 
zStoee*and  at  squadron,  overcame  the  Flemings  at  Zeriksee,  and  his 
Treaty  ofpe^e,    knights  achieved  a  brilliant  victory  at  Mons-en-Pueller 

where  six  thousand  of  the  bourgeois  of  Flanders  were 
left  upon  the  field  of  battle.     But  when  he  believed  that  these  people 

1270-1328]  BONIFACE   VIII.  AND    PHILIP    IV.  215 

were  subdued,  lie  saw  with  surprise  a  new  Flemish  army,  sixteen 
thousand  strong,  appear  under  the  walls  of  Lille,  which  he  was  be- 
sieging. These  were  the  brave  bourgeois  of  Ghent,  of  Bruges,  of 
Ypres,  and  of  other  towns  in  Flanders,  who  had  bound  themselves  by  an 
oath  never  to  see  their  hearths  again  until  they  had  obtained  an  honour- 
able peace  or  victory.  "  Better,"  said  they,  "  to  die  in  battle  than  live 
in  servitude."  Defied  in  his  camp  by  this  formidable  army,  the  King 
listened  to  the  prudent  counsel  and  advice  of  his  generals.  He  signed 
a  treaty  by  which  the  Flemings  gave  up  to  him  French  Flanders,  as 
far   as   the   Lys,  with   the   towns  of   Lille  and  Douai. 

__,.,.  t  „  ,  ~  T,,        n  _,  Reunion  of  Lille 

Philip   set  at  liberty  the  new  Count  of  slanders,  Robert   and  Douai  with 

.  France. 

de  Bethune,  son  of  Guy  de  Dampierre,  and  recognized 
the  independence  of  the  Flemings. 

The  pride  of   the  King  had  been  already  deeply  wounded  by  the 
hauerhty  Boniface  VIII.,  who  had  shown  that  he  was  his   a,       .  .  . 

o      J  '  Struggle  between 

rival  in  ambition,  violence,  and  cupidity.  Founding  his  andPiSiiJSe 
power  partly  on  his  wealth,  he  had,  at  the  expiration  of  Fair" 
the  thirteenth  century,  again  established  the  Centenary  Jubilee,  pro- 
mising entire  remission  of  sins  to  every  one  who  visited,  during  thirty 
consecutive  days,  all  the  churches  of  Borne.  An  enormous  multitude 
of  pilgrims  hurried  to  place  their  rich  offerings  at  the  feet  of  the 
Pontiff.  Boniface  then  extended  his  hand  over  all  the  sceptres:  he 
wished  to  sell  Sicily  to  Charles  II.,  King  of  Naples ;  he  called  to 
justice  Albert  of  Austria  for  the  murder  of  Adolph  of  Nassau ;  pro- 
tected the  children  of  La  Cerda  in  Castile  ;  claimed  to  interpose 
between  England  and  Scotland,  issued  a  bull  against  the  King  of 
Hungary,  and  supported  the  Bishop  of  Pamiers,  his  legate,  against 
the  implacable  vengeance  of  Philip  the  Fair,  whom  that  prelate  had 

Philip  had  already,  on  his  own  authority,  levied  tithes  upon  the 
clergy,  and  often  abused  the  royal  right ;  #  irritated  by  the  preten- 
sions of  the  Pope  and  the  reproaches  of  the  bishop,  he  caused  those 
of  his  men  of  law  who  were  most  devoted  to  his  will  to  obtain  an 

*  This  royal  right  was  one  of  the  causes  of  frequent  quarrels,  which  took  place  at 
different  epochs  "between  the  court  of  France  and  that  of  Rome.  It  was  the  right 
bestowed  on  the  King  by  the  Gallican  Church  to  receive  the  revenues  of  the  bishoprics 
and  abbeys  during  the  vacancy  of  the  sees. 

216  THE    BULL   AUSCULTA,   FILL  [BookII.   ChAP.I. 

accusation  against  the  latter — and  in  the  number  of  these  it  is  necessary 
to  cite  Pierre--  Flotte,  his  chancellor ;  Enguerrand  de  Marigny,  his 
confidant ;  Guillaume  de  Plaisian  and  Guillaume  de  Nogaret.  These 
men,  always  skilful  in  finding  guilty  those  whom  the  King  wished 
to  strike,  soon  discovered  charges  against  the  Bishop  of  Panders 
sufficient  to  give  a  motive  for  his  arrest.  Philip  ordered  it  for 
the  crime  of  lese-majeste,  or  high  treason  against  the  King,  and  de- 
manded his  degradation  from  the  Archbishop  of  JSTarbonne,  his  metro- 
politan. But  Boniface,  indignant  that  the  archers  of  the  King  should 
lay  hands  on  a  bishop,  revoked  the  judgment,  and  warned  the  King 
of  his  wrong  doings  in  the  bull  Amculta,jili  (Listen,  0  my  son), 
Bull  Auscuita  "where  these  words  may  be  read : — "  Do  you  think,  then, 
■^  O  my  son,  that  you  have  not  a  superior,  and  that  you 

must  not  submit  yourself  to  the  supreme  hierarchy  ?  We  cannot 
conceal  from  you  that  you  disquiet  us,  that  you  oppress  your  subjects, 
both  those  in  the  churches  and  ecclesiastical  persons  generally,  the 
peers,  counts,  and  barons,  also  the  universities,  and  that  you  scan- 
dalize the  multitude.  .  .  .  We  have  warned  you,  and  far  from 
correcting  your  errors,  we  see  that  your  hate  has  only  increased," 
&c.  Philip,  excited  to  fury,  supported  by  the  University  of  Paris, 
caused  the  Pope's  bull  to  be  burned,  and  convoked  the  first  States- 
General  where  the  deputies  of  the  common  people #  had  been  sum- 

*  For  several  centuries  the  great  assemblies  of  all  the  freemen,  the  mals,  had  ceased. 
Already,  at  the  end  of  the  Merovingian  dynasty,  the  Champs  de  Mars  were  almost  out  of 
use.  Pepin,  carried  to  the  throne  by  a  Germanic  movement,  reinstated  with  vigour  the 
ancient  customs,  and  the  nation  was  often  convoked,  no  longer  at  the  Champs  de  Mars,  on 
account  of  the  severity  of  the  weather,  hut  at  the  Champs  de  Mai.  Although  these 
assemblies  still  bore  the  name  of  placites  generaux  of  the  Franks,  the  nobles  alone 
participated  in  the  business.  Under  Charlemagne  these  assemblies  became  regular,  and 
were  only  composed  of  majors  and  minors  (see  the  reign  of  Charlemagne)  ;  the  people 
were  only  spectators.  The  successors  of  the  great  Emperor  preserved  this  custom,  and 
it  existed  until  nearly  the  end  of  the  Carlovingian  dynasty,  of  synods,  of  plenary  courts, 
and  of  parliaments  held  in  the  name  of  the  people,  where  the  people  were  never  repre- 
sented. This  was  one  of  the  assemblies  which  decreed  the  crown  to  Hugh  Capet. 
Under  the  third  race  the  assemblies  continued  to  be  composed  of  barons  and  feudal 
prelates.  Philip  the  Fair  was  the  first  of  the  Capets  who  recognized  the  right  of 
suffrage  belonging  to  the  Third  Estate  ;  still,  this  right,  even  as  late  as  the  fifteenth 
century,  only  belonged  to  walled  towns,  or  bonnes  villes.  Otherwise  there  was  nothing 
fixed,  either  concerning  the  forms  of  the  convocations,  or  upon  the  mode  of  the  elections, 
not  only  for  the  Third  Estate,  but  also  for  the  two  other  orders  ;  and  this  uncertainty 
continued  almost  till  1788.     No  law,  no  ordinance,  had  regulated  these  forms.     For  a 

1270-1328]  DEATH   OF   BONIFACE   VIII.  217 

moned  alongside  the  barons  and  bishops.      The  majors,  aldermen, 
jurats,  consuls  of  the  bonnes  villes,  hurried  to  Paris,  and  took  their 
places  in  Notre  Dame,  where,  on  the  10th  of  April,  1302,  the  first 
sitting  was  opened.     The  King  assisted  in  person,  and,   Firat  stat 
after  having  made  known  to  the  assembly  the  pontifical  {hreerord°ersthe 
bulls,  a  letter  of  remonstrance  addressed  to  the  court  1302, 
of   Rome  was  obtained  from  each  order.      In   it,  the  nobility,   the 
clergy,  and  the  Third  Estate  proclaimed  the  complete  independence 
of  the  crown.      Boniface  avenged  himself  by  excommunicating  the 
King ;    and  the  two    rivals    prepared    themselves    for   an    obstinate 
struggle  by  reconciling  themselves  with  their  enemies,  and  sacrificing 
every  other  interest  to  that  of  their  hate.     The  Pope  allied  himself 
with    Albert    of   Austria,   and   Philip    restored    Guienne    in   fief   to 
Edward.     Strengthened  by  the  support  of  the  States- General,  which 
he  convoked  for  a  second  time  at  the  Louvre,  Philip  wished  to  strike 
a  great  blow.    His  representative,  William  de  Nogaret, 
betook  himself  to  ,Anagni,  where  the  Pope  resided,  and  ^Jf®*  by 
made  himself  master   of  his  person  ;    Sciarra  Colonna,    Hls  death> 1303- 
a  Roman  gentleman  who  accompanied  Nogaret,  struck  the  old  man 
with  his  iron  gauntlet.     However,  Boniface  astonished  his  enemies 
by  his  courage.      "  Behold  my  neck — behold  my  head !  "   said  he  to 
them  ;  "  betrayed  like  Jesus  Christ,  and  ready  to  die,  at  least  I  will 
die  Pope  !  "     Ereed  by  the  people  of  Anagni,  he  expired  at  Rome, 
a  month  afterwards,  of  a  fever  caused  by  the  shock,  and  by  anger, 
at  the  age  of  eighty- six  years. 

Arbiter  of  the  election,  in  consequence  of  his  influence  with  the 
Erench  cardinals,  after  the  death  of  Benedict  XL,  in  1305,  Philip 
promised  to  the  Cardinal  Bertrand  de  Goth,  his  enemy  in  old  times, 
to  cause  him  to  be  elected  Pope  if  he  engaged  to  hand  over  to  him 
for  five  years  tithes  on  the  members  of  the  clergy,  to  render  to  Philip 
an  important  service,  which  he  would  claim  and  name  at  the  proper 
time,  and,  lastly,  to  stain  the  memory  of  Boniface  VIII.  This 
bargain,  which  the  people  called  the  Diabolical  Bargain,  was,  it  is 
said,  concluded  in  a  forest  of  Saintonge,  near  Saint  Jean  d'Angeley. 
Bertrand  de  Goth  accepted  the  terms,  consented  to  all,  placed  himself 

profound  research  into  this  subject  the  reader  is  referred  to  the  Hisloire  des  Etats 
gZneraux  de  France,  by  M.  E.  Rathery. 

218  SUPPRESSION   OP   THE    TEMPLARS.  [Book  II.   Chap.  I. 

■under  the  discretion  of  the  King  in  the  county  Yenaissin,  where  he 
was  the  first  to  establish  the  residence  of  the  Holy  See,#  and  be- 
Eiection  of  Pope  came  Pope  under  the  name  of  Clement  V.  He  did 
not  leave  France  before  he  had  kept  all  his  promises. 
The  service  which  Philip  had  exacted  without  naming  it  before- 
hand was  the  suppression  of  the  Order  of  the  Tern- 
Destruction  of 
the  Order  of  the  plars.     Their  power  wounded  the  pride  of  the  monarchy 

Templars,  1309.  ...  ... 

while  their  immense  wealth  tempted  his  cupidity.  Be- 
fore they  had  any  suspicion  of  his  design,  he  caused  all  those  in  his 
kingdom  to  be  seized  and  thrown  into  dungeons.  Then  commenced 
a  frightful  prosecution  against  them,  where  torture  furnished  the 
evidence,  and  where  the  men  of  law  won  over  by  Philip  filled  the 
places  of  judges.  The  King  confiscated  the  property  of  his  victims,, 
while,  at  the  same  time,  he  stained  their  characters  with  horrible 
imputations  without  legal  proofs.  The  Templars  perished  by  the 
sword,  by  hunger,  and  by  fire,  retracting  in  the  face  of  execution 
the  confessions  which  torture  had  torn  from  them.  Jacques  Molay^ 
their  Grand  Master,  rendered  himself  illustrious  by  his  courage  ;  he 
protested  his  innocence  in  the  middle  of  the  flames,  and  it  is  said 
that  he  summoned  both  the  monarch  and  the  Pontiff  to  appear  before 
Cxod  during  the  year. 

Philip  was  then  the  most  powerful  king  in  Europe.  He  invited 
all  the  sovereigns  to  follow  his  example ;  Edward  II.,  King  of  Eng- 
land, and  Charles  II.,  King  of  Naples,  acceded  to  his  wishes,  and 
seized  upon  the  Templars  in  their  states :  fifteen  thousand  families 
were  broken  up  by  this  terrible  measure. 

Philip  IV.,  dishonoured  among  the  people  by  the  surname  of  the 
Philip  iv  alters  ^a^se  Coiner,  continued  his  hateful  and  vexatious  acts ;  he 
the  coinage.  levied   enormous  taxes,  and  debased  the  coinage,  and,, 

*  At  first  this  was  at  Carpentras,  the  capital  of  the  county  Venaissin,  gained  by 
Gregory  X.,  and  at  which  Clement  V.  established  himself  in  1308.  Avignon  did  not 
form  a  part  of  this  county — indeed  did  not  belong,  at  this  period,  to  the  Holy  See. 
This  town,  where  the  Popes  had  already  resided  for  many  years,  was  sold,  in  1348,  by 
Clement  VI.,  to  the  Countess  of  Provence,  Jeanne  de  Naples,  and  her  successors  re- 
mained there  till  1377.  Notwithstanding  their  return  to  Rome,  and  without  excluding 
some  temporary  occupations,  particularly  under  Louis  XIV.,  the  county  Venaissin  never 
ceased  to  belong  to  the  Holy  See  until  the  legislative  assembly,  in  1791,  declared  its 
union,  together  with  that  of  Avignon,  with  France,  thus  forming  the  department  of 


1270-1328]  DEATH    OF   PHILIP   IT.  219 

after  the  money  was  issued,  he  refused  to  receive  it  again  thus 
altered  by  himself.  In  one  day  he  caused  all  the  Jews  in  his  kingdom 
to  be  imprisoned,  and  despoiled  them  of  their  wealth.  He  was  the 
most  absolute  despot  who  had  reigned  in  France ;  yet  he  was  the 
first  of  his  race  who  granted  a  representative  privilege  to  the  com- 
munes. He  showed  a  sort  of  favour  to  the  bourgeois,  consulting 
their  deputies  more  freely  than  those  of  the  nobility. 

His  policy. 

He  knew  that  men  elevated  from  a  low  degree,  gratified 
with  their  prominent  position,  would  offer  little  resistance  ;  and  it  was 
from  among  obscure  men  that  he  selected  his  favourites  and 
ministers,  of  whom  the  most  celebrated  was  Enguerrand  de  Marigny. 
He  wanted  support  in  order  to  sustain  him  in  his  perfidious  and 
cruel  measures,  and,  in  summoning  the  bourgeois  to  the  councils 
of  the  kingdom,  he  felt  strong  enough  to  fear  nothing  from  a  liberty 
which  was  only  so  in  name ;  torture  was  used  profusely,  and  the 
whole  nation  was  ruled  by  terror.  Towards  the  close  of  his  days  he 
exercised  severities  upon  his  own  family  :  the  wives  of  his  three  sons 
were  accused,  at  the  same  time,  of  adultery ;  he  threw  them  into 
prison,  and  caused  those  whom  he  suspected  to  be  their  lovers  to  be 
flayed   alive.      He   expired   shortly   afterwards,   recom- 

J  .  .  .  His  death,  1314. 

mending    to    his    son    piety,    clemency,    and    justice. 

Clement  V.,  his  accomplice,  died  shortly  afterwards;  while  Henry  YIL 

had  expired  in  the  preceding  year. 

Under  Philip  the  Fair  the  domain  of  the  crown  was  increased  by 
La  Marche  and  Angoumois,  which  he  confiscated;   by 
Lyonnais,  which  he  detached  from  the  empire ;  and  a  part   the  crown  under 
of  French  Flanders.     He  had  married  Jeanne,  heiress  of 
the  kingdom  of  Navarre,  of  the  county  of  Champagne,  and  of  Brie. 
The  results  of  that  union  were  favourable  to  France. 

The  reign  of  Philip  is  one  of  the  most  gloomy  in  the  history  of 
France.  At  this  period — from  towards  the  end  of  the  thirteenth  century 
till  the  commencement  of  the  fourteenth — the  French  lived  beneath 
a  yoke  of  iron ;  and,  notwithstanding  the  heroism  displayed  two  hun- 
dred years  before  in  the  communal  revolutions,  they  were  in  general 
strangers  to  the  spirit  of  independence  which  agitated  most  of  the 
countries  around  them,  and  to  which  Italy  and  Flanders  owed  their 
arts  and  their  industry.     Robert  Bruce  in  Scotland,  and  William  Tell 

220  ACCESSION   OF   LOUIS   X.  [BOOK  II.   CHAP.  I. 

in  Switzerland,  had  restored  freedom  to  their  countries.  Still,  the 
great  events  which  then  shook  some  states  were  caused  much  less 
by  the  spirit  of  individual  liberty  than  by  the  love  of  national 
independence ;  and  the  greater  part  of  the  people  of  Europe,  after 
constituting  themselves  nations,  fell  again  under  a  yoke  as  hard  as 
that  which  they  had  shaken  off. 


Philip  left  three   sons  and  one  daughter.     Louis  X.,  the  eldest,  sur- 
named  Le  HutinJ*  in  consequence  of  his  vicious  tastes, 

Accession  of  x 

Louis  x.,  1314.  was  twenty-five  years  of  age  at  the  death  of  his  father, 
and  had  already  worn  for  fifteen  years  the  crown  of  Navarre,  which  he 
had  inherited  from  his  mother,  together  with  that  of  Champagne  and 
Brie.  His  two  brothers,  Philip  and  Charles,  like  himself,  were  given 
up  to  vicious  habits,  and  their  sister  Isabella,  wife  of  Edward  II.,  only 
distinguished  herself  by  crime  and  infamy. 

Philip  the  Fair,  as  a  matter  of  policy,  had  entrusted  the  great 
offices  of  the  state  to  obscure  men,  who  owed  all  they  possessed  to 
his  favour.  His  family  censured  this  system,  and  one  of  the  first  acts 
of  Louis  was  to  arrest  and  bring  to  judgment  the  Chancellor  Pierre 
Latelli,  who  was  pardoned,  and  Enguerrand  de  Marigny,  prime 
minister  of  the  late  King.  Charles  de  Valois,  uncle  of  the  monarch, 
begged   that   sentence    of    death    should  be    passed   on 

Trial  and  execu-  .  .    . 

tion  of  Marigny,   JMarigny,    m  consequence   ol    a    personal  injury.     Inis 


minister,  who  was  held  responsible  for  all  the  tyrannical 
acts  of  his  master,  and  accused  of  sorcery,  was  condemned,  and  hanged 
at  the  gibbet  of  Montfaucon.  Marguerite  of  Burgundy,  wife  of  the 
King,  was  shut  up  in  the  Chateau  Gaillard  des  Andelys,  on  a  charge 
of  adultery.  Louis  caused  her  to  be  strangled,  and  afterwards  mar- 
ried Clemence  of  Hungary.  He  always  lived  surrounded  by  prodigal 
young  noblemen,  whom  he  made  the  companions  of  his  pleasures  ; 
and  the  nobility,  taking  advantage  of  their  influence,  obtained  from 
him-  the  right  to  be  restored  in  possession  of  their  ancient  pri- 
feeb  -  entof  v^ge8-  He  thus  weakened  the  mainspring  of  the 
e  roya  power.    monarci1yj  R0  anxiously  cared  for  by  his   father.      The 

f.       *  An  old  French  word,  long  out  of  use. 

1270-1328]  DEATH   OF   LOUIS   X.       PHILIP   V.  221 

judicial  combat  was  re-established  ;  confederations  of  the  nobles 
were  formed  in  most  parts  of  the  provinces,  and  each  obtained  a 
charter,  and  the  nobles  of  the  north  recovered  their  royal  rights. 
But  the  King,  pressed  by  want  of  money,  issued  also  some  de- 
crees favourable  to  the  national  liberties,  offering  to  the  peasants 
of  the  crown,  and  to  the  serfs  held  in  mortmain,  to  sell  them 
their  liberty ;  but  he  gave  no  guarantee  of  the  rights  that  he  recog- 
nized, and  such  was  the  misery  of  the  people,  and  such  the  distrust 
that  the  King  inspired,  that  his  decree  was  only  received  by  a  small 
number,  and  brought  little  money  into  the  treasury.  Great  disorder 
in  the  financial  department,  and  the  horrors  of  a  famine,  accompanied 
by  astounding  scandals,  marked  the  rapid  course  of  this  reign.  Then 
might  be  seen  the  clergy  themselves  conducting  in  the  provinces  pro- 
cessions of  penitents,  entirely  naked,  for  the  purpose  of  obtaining 
from  Heaven  favourable  weather  for  the  harvests.  Louis  X.  died  in 
1316,  in  consequence  of  an  imprudence,  leaving  his  wife,  Death  of  L  j 
Clemence  of  Hungary,  enceinte.  By  his  first  marriage  x*' 1316, 
he  had  only  one  daughter,  called  Jeanne,  then  six  years  old. 


Philip  V.,  called  the  Long,  brother  of  Louis  le  Hutin,  took  posses- 
sion of  the  regency,  to  the  prejudice  of  the  Queen,  who   Accession  f 
gave  birth  to  a  son,  named  John.     This  child  only  sur-   Phlhp  v> 1316- 
vived  a  few  days,  and  Philip,  uncle  of  the  Princess  Jeanne,  already  in 
possession  of  the  royal  authority,  caused  it  to  be  decreed  by  the  States- 
General,  and  by  the  Universitv  of  France,  that  the  law 

-  .  .  The  Salic  law. 

of  succession  established  among  the  ancient  Franks  for 
the  Salic  land,*  should  be  applied  to  the  crown  of  France,  and  that, 
in  virtue  of  that  law,  women  should  never  inherit  the  throne.     This 
was  the  first  application  of  that  celebrated  law. 

The  new  King  felt  the  want  of  being  supported  by  the  legists,  and 
showed  towards  them  an  altogether  special  favour.  He  bestowed 
attention  on  the  administration  of  the  interior,  appointed  the  captains- 
general  of  the  provinces  and  the  captains  of  the  towns,  and  organized 
the    militia   of  the    communes,    decreeing,    however,    that    the  arms 

*  See  page  27. 

22  DEATH   OF  PHILIP   V.  [Book  II.   Chap.  I. 

should   remain    deposited  in   the   houses   of  the   captains  till   there 

was  a  necessity  for  their  use.     Save  a  rapid  and  useless  expedition 

into  Italy,  he  had  no  interior  or  exterior  war  to  sustain,  and  yet  blood 

streamed  in  France  under  his  reign.     A  new  religious  fury  seized  the 

shepherds  and  inhabitants  of  the  plains,  designated  under  the  name  of 

Pastoureaux,     They  met  together  in   crowds,  with   the 

intention  of  passing  into   the    Holy  Land   and  setting 

free   the   Holy  Sepulchre.     From  mendicants,   however,  they  turned 

into   plunderers,    and   it   became   necessary  to   punish   them.     They 

offered  in  a  holocaust  to  God  all  the  Jews  that  they  met,  and,  after 

having  committed  a  multitude  of  highway  robberies   and  murders, 

they  were  nearly  all  massacred   and  destroyed  by  the    Seneschal  of 

Carcassonne.      A   horrible   proscription   included   those 

the  lepers  and  of    attacked  with  leprosy,  during  the  same  reign  ;  they  were 

the  Jews. 

accused  of  having  poisoned  the  wells  of  drinking  water 
throughout  the  kingdom.  Philip  V.  and  Pope  John  XXII.  both 
believed  in  magic  ;  they  gave  credence  to  the  crime  of  the  lepers 
without  any  proof  except  that  forced  out  by  horrible  tortures.  From 
that  time  all  those  who  were  attacked  by  skin  disease  were  arrested 
and  accused  of  sorcery  ;  and  as  such,  they  were  forbidden  to  have 
recourse  to  the  tribunals  of  the  kingdom.  The  Jews,  suspected  of 
being  in  complicity  with  them,  perished  in  the  same  torments.  In 
the  midst  of  these  atrocious  executions  the  King  fell  ill  of  a  wasting 
disease.  The  relics  from  the  Sainte-Chapelle,  which  they  brought 
Death  of  Phiii  nmi)  an0^  which  he  kissed  devoutly,  could  not  revive 
v.,  1322.  him. :  he  died  at  Longchamp,  in  1322. 

Most  of  the  ordinances  of  Philip  V.  are  remarkable  for  the  con- 
tinual confusion  of  the  personal  interests  of  the  King  with  those  of 
the  kingdom,  and  for  the  desire  to  regulate  the  use  of  the  sovereign 
will  without  at  the  same  time  recognizing  any  limit  to  it.  By  a 
decree  of  1318,  the  King  ordered  himself  to  attend  mass  every 
morning,  and  regulated  the  manner  of  making  his  bed ;  by  another 
he  denied  to  himself  the  right  to  transfer  the  domains  of  the  crown, 
Letters  of  anc^  rev°ked  all  the  gifts  of  his  father.     This  prince  gave 

nobihty.  letters  of  nobility  to  persons  of  mean   origin.     At  last 

these  letters  were  sold  for  money,  and  this  innovation,  in  renewing 
the  aristocracy,  altered  its  character  and  weakened  it.     Amongst  the 

1270-1328]  ACCESSION  OP    CHAELES    IV.  223 

numerous  edicts  of  Philip  V.,  those  which  organized  the   -■/.*..    e 

*  °  Useful  edicts  of 

militia,  the  chambers  of  exchequer,  the  administration  of  thisPriuce- 
the  woods  and  forests,  and  the  office  of  the  collectors,  indicate  the 
progress  of  order,  and  the  substitution  of  the  despotism  supported  by- 
law for  the  despotism  sustained  by  the  sword. 


Philip  V.  had  one  son  and  four  daughters  when  he  asked  the  States 
to  exclude,  in  perpetuity,  daughters  from  the  throne.  A  few  months 
afterwards  he  lost  his  son,  and  was  the  first  person  wounded  in  his 
paternal  love  by  the  law  which  he  had  caused  to  be  passed.  His 
brother  Charles  inherited  the  sceptre  ;  he  was   the  third    , 

x  Accession  of 

son  of  Philip  the  Fair,  and  was  then  twenty-eight  years   Charles  iv.,1322. 
of  age.     He  issued  ordinances  for  the  purpose  of  ameliorating  the  lot 
of  the  lepers  and  Jews ;   there  are  few  things  besides  in  his  reign 
that  history  has  handed  down  to  us.     The  foundation  of 
the  Floral  Games,  at  Toulouse,  dates  from  this  epoch. 

While  the  civil  war  desolated  England,  Charles,  at  the  instigation 
of  his  sister  Isabella,  wife  of  Edward  II.,  usurped  the  rights  of  that 
prince  in  Aquitaine.  The  English  monarch  sent  his  son  to  him,  in 
order  to  pay  him  homage  ;  Charles  held  back  the  young  prince  at  his 
court,  as  a  hostage,  and  furnished  soldiers  and  money  to  his  sister  in 
order  to  fight  against  her  husband.  That  unfortunate  king  was  made 
prisoner,  and  shortly  afterwards  a  frightful  death  put  an  end  to  his 
days.  Charles  IV.  fell  ill  at  this  period,  and  decreed  that  if  the 
queen,  then  enceinte,  should  give  birth  to  a  son,  his  _..  fC 
cousin-german,  Philip  of  Yalois,  should  be  regent  of  the  IV; 
kingdom  ;  if  she  gave  birth  to  a  daughter,  his  intention  was  that  the 
twelve  peers  and  the  high  barons  of  France  should  sit  in  parliament 
and  decree  the  crown  to  whomsoever  it  belonged  by  law.  He  died  on 
Christmas  day,  in  the  same  year,  carried  oft',  like  his  brothers,  in  the 
vigour  of  his  life.     Thus  appeared  to  be  accomplished 

&  .  .  7  .  His  death,  1327. 

the  judgment  of  God,  with  which  the  house  of  Philip  the 

Fair  had  for  a  long  time  been  threatened,  in  the  eyes  of  the  people,  in 

punishment  for  its  crimes. 

We  have   seen  the  successive   enlargements  of  the  royal  domain 

224  HOUSES  OF  FEUDAL  PEINCES.  [Book  II.  Chap.  L 

since  tlie  time  of  Philip  I.    It  had  acquired  during  these  two  centuries 
by  conquest,  by  confiscation,   or  by  inheritance,  Berry, 

Recapitulation  of  _  .  . 

the  acquisitions     or  the  viscounty  of  Bourges,   Normandy,   Maine,  Anjou, 

made  by  the  .  __ 

royal  domain,        Poitou,  Valois,  Vermandois,  the  counties   of  Auvergne 

from  the  end  of  # 

the  eleventh  cen-  and  Boulogne,  a  part  of  Champagne  and  Brie,  Lyonnais, 
fourteenth  cen-  Angoumois,  Marche,  nearly  the  whole  of  Languedoc,  and 
lastly,  the  kingdom  of  Navarre,  which,  belonging  in  her 
own  right  to  Queen  Jeanne,  mother  of  the  last  three  Capetians, 
Charles  IV.*  united  with  the  crown.  But  the  custom  among  the  kings 
of  giving  apanages  or  estates  to  the  princes  of  their  house  detached 
afresh  from  the  domain  a  great  part  of  the  reunited  territories,  and 
created  powerful  feudal  princely  houses,  of  which  the  chiefs  often 
made  themselves  formidable  to  the  monarchs.  Among  these  great 
Princely  feudal  houses  of  the  Capetian  race,  the  most  formidable  were 
houses.  — jfoe   ]20lise  0f  Burgundy,  which  traced  back   to  King 

Robert ;  the  house  of  Dreucc,  issue  of  a  son  of  Louis  the  Big,  and 
which  added  by  a  marriage  the  duchy  of  Brittany  to  the  county  of 
that  name ;  the  house  of  Anjou,  issue  of  Charles,  brother  of  Saint 
Louis,  which  was  united,  in  1290,  with  that  of  Valois  ;  the  house 
of  Bourdon,  descending  from  Robert,  Count  of  Clermont,  sixth  son 
of  Saint  Louis ;  and  the  house  of  Alengon,  which  traced  back  to 
Philip  III.,  and  possessed  the  duchy  of  Alencon  and  Perche. 

Besides  these  great  princely  houses  of  Capetian  stock,  which 
owed  their  grandeur  and  their  origin  to  their  apanages,  there  were 
other  feud  l  many  others  which  held  considerable  rank  in  France,, 
houses.  an(j    0£   w]1ic}1    the     possessions^  were    transmissible   to 

women ;  while  the  apanages  were  all  masculine  fiefs.  The  most 
powerful  of  these  houses  were  those  of  Flanders,  Penthievre, 
Chatillon,  Montmorency,  Brienne,  Coucy,  Vendome,  Auvergne,  Foix., 
and  Armagnac.  The  vast  possessions  of  the  two  last  houses  were  in 
the  country  of  the  Langue  d'Oc.  The  Counts  of  Foix  were  also 
masters  of  Beam,  and  those  of  Armagnac  possessed  Fezensac, 
Rouergue,  and  other  large  seigniories. 

Many  foreign  princes,  besides,  had  possessions  in  France  at  the 
accession  of  the  Valois.     The  King  of  England  was  lord 

Foreign  princes  .  .  .  n 

landowners  in       of  Ponthieu,  of  Aunis,  of  Saintonge,  and  01  the  duchv  of 

France.  '  '  &  J 

Aquitaine;  the  King  of  Navarre  was  Count  of  Evreux, 

270-1328]  FOREIGN   LANDHOLDERS    IN    FRANCE.  225 

and  possessor  of  many  other  towns  in  Normandy  ;  the  King  of  Majorca 
was  proprietor  of  the  seigniory  of  Montpellier  ;  the  Duke  of  Lorraine, 
vassal  of  the  German  empire,  paid  homage  to  the  King  of  France  for 
many  fiefs  that  he  held  in  Champagne  ;  and,  lastly,  the  Pope  possessed 
the  comity  Yenaissin,  detached  from  Provence. 





With  the  new  reign  commenced  a  long  series  of  disastrous  wars  be- 
tween England  and  France.  When  the  calamities  to  which  they  gave 
birth  had  transformed,  in  the  eyes  of  the  two  nations,  the  particular 
rivalries  of  their  kings  to  national  rivalries,  the  French  and  the 
English  persuaded  themselves  that  they  were  natural  enemies,  and  this 
prejudice  existed,  to  the  misfortune  of  humanity,  for  five  centuries. 
Nevertheless,  in  the  fourteenth  century,  the  war  only  broke  out  between 
them,  as  in  the  preceding  centuries,  in  the  interest  of  their  sovereigns^ 
who  both  raised  rival  pretensions  to  the  succession  of  Charles  IV. 

Jeanne  d'Evreux,  widow  of  that  monarch,  gave  birth  to  a  daughter,, 
and,  according  to  the  will  of  the  late  King,  the  Parliament  was  sum- 
moned to  decide  between  the  candidates  for  the  throne.  The  two 
principal  were  the  Regent,  Philip  of  Vaiois,*'  grandson  of  Philip 
the  Bold,  and  cousin-german  of  the  last  three  kings  of  France  ;  and 
Edward  III.,  King  of  England,  son  of  Isabella,  sister  of 

Accession  of  the  .  . 

Vaiois.    Philip      those   princes.     The  interpretation  already  twice  given 

VI;,  1328. 

during  twelve  years  to  the  Salic  law  then  received  a 
third  and  last  sanction.  Women  were  declared  to  be  deprived  of  all 
right  to  the  crown,  which  the  Parliament  solemnly  awarded  to  Philip 
of  Yalois.  This  decision  was  from  that  time  recognized  as  a  funda- 
The  s  lie  la  •  cental  law  of  the  state.  Ideas  of  legality  began  to  make 
fundamenfafiaw  ^neir  wa7  ^'0  ^ne  spirit  of  the  nation,  and  law  was  ap- 
of  the  state.  pealed  to,  supported  by  force  ;  however,  no  constitution 

up  to  that  time  had  fixed  the  rights  of  heirdom  to  the  crown,  and 
Philip,  in  his  office  of  Regent,  had  exercised  so  great  an  influence 
on  the  jurisconsults,  creatures  of  the  kings  and  flatterers  of  power,  that 

*  Vaiois,  a  small  tract  of  country  in  the  He  de  France,  tad  been  given  in  apanage, 
with  the  title  of  count,  to  Charles,  youngest  son  of  Philip  the  Bold,  and  father  of 
Philip  of  Yalois. 

1327-1350]  philip  vi.  227 

Edward,  in  appealing  himself  to  the  law,  would  not  recognize  the 
authority  of  the  men  charged  with  its  interpretation,  and  appealed  from 
their  decision  to  his  sword.  But  many  years  rolled  away  before  he 
declared  war  against  Philip  of  Yalois ;  and  in  the  meantime  he  still 
paid  him  homage  for  the  fiefs  which  he  possessed  in  France. 

Philip,    Count  d'Evreux,*  another   grandson   of  Philip  the   Bold, 
and  husband  of  Jeanne,  daughter  of  Louis  X.,  the  eldest  of  the  last 
three  Capetians,  was  the  third  candidate  for  the  crown.     He  received 
from  the  monarch  the  kingdom  of  Navarre,  to  which  his  wife  had 
legitimate   rights    through   her   grandfather^    and   which   was    also 
detached   from   the    crown    of   Prance.     But  the   royal  The  crown  of 
domain,  by  the  accession  of  Philip  of  Yalois,  gained  the   *} ^g^mo? 
county   of    Yalois,    Maine,    and   Anjou  ;    these    latter  yS"  Maine*"1' 
provinces  had  been  ceded  by  the  house  of  Anjou  to  the 
house  of  Yalois,  under  Philip  IY= 

Philip  YI.  was  thirty-six  years  old  when,  in  1328,  he  was  recog- 
nized as  king.  This  prince  was  brave,  violent,  vindictive,  and  cruel ; 
skilful  in  all  muscular  exercises,  he  was  ignorant  of  the  first  notions 
of  the  military  art  and  of  financial  administration.  With  him  the  art 
of  reigning  was  to  inspire  terror  by  executions,  and  admiration  by 
pomp  and  magnificence.  The  first  acts  of  his  reign  were  the  alteration 
of  the  coinage  and  the  judgment  of  death  on  Pierre  Henry,  treasurer  of 
finances  under  the  previous  reign.     Philip  YI.  accused 

Execution  of  the 

him  of  embezzlement  :     Remy  was   executed,   and  the   treasurer,  Pierre 

J  '  Remy,  1327. 

King  took  possession  of  his  rich  spoils.     Soon  after  he 
marched  into  Flanders  to  the  assistance  of  the  ferocious  Count  Louis, 
who  was  always  at  war  with  his  subjects  ;  and  the  bloody  Battl    f  Cagcel 
battle  of  Cassel,  where  thirteen  thousand  Flemings  were   1328- 
slaughtered,  restored  to  the  Count  his  states. 

The  issue  of  a  scandalous  lawsuit  caused  the  first  germs  of  discord 
to    spring   up   between   Edward   III.    and    Philip    YI.    „  ,.  . 

*         °        x  x  Preliminaries 

Robert    d'Artois,    brother-in-law  of  Philip,   had   vainlv   tf  the  "undred 

'  ■r'  J     Years  War 

bribed  witnesses,  in  order  to  obtain  from  the  Kins:  and   bet^en  England 

'  o  and  France, 

Parliament  that  the  county  of  Artois,  adjudicated  to  his   1331-1338- 

*  The  county  of  Evreux  had  been  given  in  apanage,  in  1307,  by  Philip  the  Fair  to 
his  brother  Louis,  younger  son  of  Philip  the  Bold, 
t  See  page  224, 

Q   2 

228  WAR  WITH   ENGLAND.  [Book  II.   Chap.  II. 

aunt  Mahaut,  should  be  given  up  to  him.  Blinded  by  his  fury,  after 
having  uselessly  employed  assassins,  he  had  recourse  to  demons  ;  and 
the  King,  filled  with  the  superstitious  beliefs  of  that  age,  learned  with 
fright  that  he,  as  well  as  his  son,  were  envonlte's  (bewitched)  by  his 
brother-in-law.  They  then  believed  that  if  a  little  image  of  wax, 
representing  any  person,  were  baptized  by  a  priest,  and  afterwards 
pierced  with  a  needle  in  the  place  of  the  heart,  the  person  whom  the 
figure  represented  would  suffer  from  the  wound,  and  soon  die.  The 
demons  were  invoked  in  this  magical  operation,  which  was  called 
"  making  a  voult  (a  vow)  against  any  one,"  or  "  Venvoulter."  The 
King  was  no  more  exempt  than  his  people  from  the  fear  which  this 
superstitious  belief  inspired.  Robert,  pursued  by  his  vengeance, 
found  an  asylum  with  Edward,,  and  never  desisted  from  urging 
him  on  to  war. 

That   monarch   was    then   recognized    on   the    continent   by  most 
powerful   allies.     The  cruelties  of  the  Count  of  Flanders  had  again 
caused  a  revolt  among  his  subjects.     Ghent,  the  richest  and  most 
populous  town  of  the  Low  Countries,  had  revolted,  and  placed  itself 
under  obedience  to  the  celebrated  brewer,  Jacquemart  Artevelt,  who 
was  the    soul    of   a   new  league    against    Count    Louis    and  France. 
Having  need  of  the  support  of  England,  Artevelt,  in  the  name  of  the 
Flemings,  recognized  Edward  as  the  King  of  France.    About  the  same 
time,  the  Emperor  Louis  IV.  of  Bavaria,  irritated  against  Philip,  who 
had  refused  homage  for  the  fiefs  which  he  held  from  the  empire  upon 
the  left  bank  of  the  Rhine,  declared  solemnly  at  the  Diet  of  Coblentz, 
held  in  1336,  that  Philip  was  entirely  deprived  of  all  protection  from 
the  empire  until  he  had  restored  his  maternal  inheritance  to  Edward. 
He  also  named  the  latter  monarch  his  representative  for  all  the  lands 
on  the  left  bank  of  the  Rhine  held  by  the  imperial  crown. 

However,  the  chivalrous  King  John  of  Bohemia  allied  himself  with 
Philip,  and,  loaded  with  wealth,  seduced  the  German  princes  and  the 
Emperor  himself,  and  held  neutrality  during  the  terrible  struggle  about 
to  take  place  between  the  Kings  of  France  and  England.  He  strove 
also  to  bring  about  an  excommunication  of  the  Flemings  by  Pope 
Benedict  XII.,  but  Edward  submitted  himself  to  the  wrill  of  the  Pon- 
tiff, threatening  him  with  the  fate  of  Boniface  VIII. 

Edward  then  took  the  title  of  King  of  France ;  he  entered  Flanders 

1327-1350]  CIVII    WAR   IN   BRITTANY.  229 

at  tlie  head  of  an  army,  and  confirmed  all  the  privileges  of  the  Flem- 
ings.   Philip  sustained  against  him,  with  superior  forces,   First  hostilities, 


a  defensive  warfare,  refusing  to  engage  in  any  general 

action.     The  English,  nevertheless,  took  the  French  fleet  by  surprise, 

shut  up  in  a  narrow  creek  near  Ecluse.    They  gave  them   Battle  of  Ecluse 

battle,   and  obtained  a  complete  victory.      France  lost     34°" 

ninety  vessels  and  more  than  thirty  thousand  men.     This  battle  was 

followed  by  an  armistice  between  the  two  nations. 

A  bloody  and  fatal  war  to  France  broke  out  in  the  following  year 
in  Brittany.     John  III.,  duke  of  that  province,  had  died 


-without  issue,  and  two  rivals  disputed  his  inheritance,    of  the  civil  war  in 

'  r  Brittany,  1341. 

The  one  was   Charles  de  Blois,  husband  of  one  of  his 
nieces  and   nephew  of  the    King    of   France ;    the    other,   Montfort, 
conqueror  of  the  Albigenses  :  he  was  the  younger  brother  of  the  last 
duke,  andmad  been  disinherited  by  him.    The  Court  of  Peers,  devoted 
to  the  King,  adjudged  the  duchy  to  Charles  de  Blois,  his  nephew. 
Montfort  immediately  made  himself  master  of  the  strongest  places,  and 
rendered  homage  for  Brittany  to  King  Edward,  whose  assistance  he 
implored.     This  war,  in  which  Charles  de  Blois  was   supported  by 
France  and  Montfort  by  England,  lasted  for  twenty- four  years  without 
interruption,   and  presented,  in  the  midst  of  heroic  actions,  a  long 
course  of  treacheries    and    atrocious   robberies.      Amongst  the  most 
famous  combats  of  this  terrible  struggle  history  quotes,  during  a  truce 
with  England,  the   Combat  of  the  Thirty,  a  bloody  duel 
between  thirty  Bretons  under  Jean  de  Beaumanoir,  and   Thirty- 
thirty  English  commanded  by  Bemborough.     Victory  remained  with 
the  Bretons  ;  but  it  had  no  influence  upon  the  issue  of  the  war.     Two 
women — two  heroines — vied  in   courage  at  this  time  with  the  most 
celebrated  warriors.     They  were  Jeanne  la  Boiteuse,  wife  of  Charles 
de  Blois,  and  Jeanne  la  Flamande,  wife  of  Montfort.     They  were  the 
soul  of  their  parties  ;  and  the  defence  of  Hennebon  rendered  Jeanne 
de  Montfort  immortal. 

Charles  de  Blois,  nephew  of  Philip  VI.,  only  inherited  on  the  female 
side  the  duchy  of  Brittany.     The    King'    sustained  his 

J  J  °  Perfidy  and 

cause    for  a   family  interest,    and   he   had   recourse    to   ^;y of  p*JmP 

J  '  VI.  in  regard  to 

perfidy  and  cruelty.      In  a  tournament,    to  which   the   aevSedto  n°bles 
Breton  knights  had  repaired  without  mistrust,  he  caused  Montfort- 


twelve  of  the  party  of  Montfort  to  be  arrested.  Oliver  Clisson,  one 
of  the  most  powerful  nobles  of  Brittany,  was  of  this  number.  All 
were  beheaded,  without  legitimate  cause  and  without  a  trial.  The 
widow  of  Clisson  immediately  took  by  surprise  a  fortress  belonging  to 
the  King,  and  caused  the  whole  of  the  garrison  to  be  slaughtered  before 
her  eyes.  The  parents  and  friends  of  the  knights  put  to  death  by 
treachery  all  passed  over  to  the  side  of  Montfort,  and  called  their 
enemies  to  their  assistance.  One  of  them,  Geofiroy  d'Harconrt,  being 
threatened  with  the  same  fate  by  Philip,  obtained  from  King  Edward 
a  vow  to  avenge  them  ;  and  in  the  year  following,  an  English  army, 
commanded  by  Edward,  and  conducted  by  this  same  Harcourt,  dis- 
embarked in  Normandy,  and  ravaged  the  kingdom  without  obstacle, 
until  they  arrived  beneath  the  walls  of  Paris. 

Philip,  appealing  to  all  the  nobility  of  France,  assembled  round  him 
a  formidable  army,  before  which  Edward  retired.  The  retreat  of  the 
English  was  difficult ;  very  inferior  in  numbers  to  the  French,  they 
passed  over  the  Somme  at  the  ford  of  Blanquetaque,  and,  compelled 
to  fight,  they  fortified  themselves  upon  a  hill  which  commanded 
the  village  of  Cress?/,  and  there  placed  cannons,  which 

First  employ-  &  .  . 

ment  of  artillery    were  then  for  the  first  time  used  in  European  armies. 

in  warfare,  1346. 

The  French  had  come  by  forced  marches.  If  they  had 
taken  some  repose,  by  prudent  arrangements  victory  would  have  been 
assured  to  them  ;  but  the  impatient  Philip,  who  had  scarcely  arrived 

in  sight  of  the  enemy,  ordered  an  attack  to  be  made  by 

Battle  of  Cressy,  &  Ji  J 

1346-  his  Genoese  archers,  who  formed  the  advanced  guard. 

They  endeavoured  vainly  to  make  him  observe  that  they  were  exhausted 
by  hunger  and  fatigue,  and  that  the  rain  had  rendered  their  bows 
useless.  He  renewed  the  order  ;  they  advanced  with  bravery,  and 
were  repulsed.  Philip,  furious,  caused  them  to  be  massacred,  and  his 
brother,  the  Duke  d'Alencon,  trod  them  down  under  the  hoofs  of  his 
cavalry.  This  ferocious  act  caused  the  loss  of  the  army  ;  the  English 
took  advantage  of  the  confusion  in  the  front  ranks,  and  rushed  upon 
them,  and  the  advanced  guard  was  thrown  back  upon  the  general 
body  of  the  army,  where  a  frightful  carnage  took  place.  Thirty 
thousand  Frenchmen  lost  their  lives,  and  amongst  them  eleven 
princes,  twelve  hundred  nobles  or  knights,  and  the  chivalrous  King  of 
Bohemia,  allied  with  Philip,  who,  although  blind,  caused  himself  to 

1327-1350]  CAPTURE   OF   CALAIS   BY   EDWARD   III.  231 

he  led  into  the  midst  of  the  affray,  in  order  to  perish  valiantly.  The 
elite  of  the  nobility  was  cut  down  in  that  bloody  day's  work.  The 
celebrated  Black  Prince,  fifteen  years  of  age,  commanded  the  English, 
under  King  Edward,  his  father,  and  powerfully  contributed  to  the 
victory.  Philip,  twice  wounded,  and  carried  away  by  his  men  far 
from  the  field  of  battle,  presented  himself  before  the  castle  of  Braye, 
only  accompanied  by  five  knights.  "  Open"  said  he,  as  he  knocked  at 
the  gate,  "  it  is  the  fortune  of  France  !"*'+■ 

The  taking  of  Calais  was  one  of  the  most  fatal  results  of  the  defeat 
of  Oressy.     The  inhabitants   of  that  town,   reduced  by 

Siege  and 

famine  to  capitulate  after  eleven  months  of  courageous   capture  of 

r  p  °  Calais  by  the 

defence,  were  summoned  to   deliver  up  to  Edward  six   King  of  England, 

9  r  m  1346. 

persons  from  among  them  upon  whom  that  King  could 
satiate  his  vengeance.  At  this  news  the  people  broke  out  into  wailing. 
"  But  then,"  says  Froissart,  "  there  uprose  the  richest  bourgeois  of 
the  town,  whom  they  called  Sieur  Eustache  de  Saint-Pierre,  and  he 
spoke  thus  before  them : — '  Great  pity  and  great  misfortune  would  it 
be  to  see  such  a  people  as  this  perish.  I  have  so  great  a  hope  of 
having  grace  and  pardon  from  our  Lord  if  I  die  to  save  this  people, 
that  I  wish  to  be  the  first,  and  I  will  place  myself  willingly  at  the 
mercy  of  the  King  of  England.'  When  Eustache  had  said  these 
words  the  crowd  was  moved,  men  and  women  throwing  them- 
selves down  at  his  feet,  weeping.  Then  another  bourgeois,  who  had 
two  daughters,  and  was  called  Jean  d'Aire,  arose,  and  said  that  he 
would  accompany  his  friend  Sieur  Eustache. "t  This  noble  example 
Was  followed  by  two  brothers  named  Wissant ;  lastly,  two  other  bour- 
geois, whose  names  history  has  not  preserved,  offered  to  share  their 
fate.  The  whole  six,  with  ropes  round  their  necks,  and  bearing  the 
keys  of  the  town,  were  conducted  by  the  governor,  John  de  Vienne, 
to  the  English  camp.  Edward,  on  seeing  them,  called  for  the 
•executioner ;  but  the  Queen  and  his  son  interceded  for  them  and 
obtained  their  pardon.    All  the  inhabitants  of  Calais  were  driven  from 

*  Some  authors  have  denied,  but  without  sufficient  proof,  the  authenticity  of  this 
speech,  and  also  that  of  most  of  the  historical  sayings  of  our  kings  and  great  men. 
These  are,  in  our  view,  efforts  to  he  regretted,  as  they  tend  systematically  to  despoil 
history  of  its  poetry  and  its  grandeur,  in  order  to  profit  a  doubtful  and  most  frequently 
sterile  science. 

f  Froissart. 

232  THE    PLAGUE    OP   FLORENCE.  [Book  II.  CflAP.  IL 

the  town,  which  became  an  Englisli  colony ;  and  for  two  hundred 

years  it  was  an  entrance-place  into  France  for  foreign  armies.     The 

capture  of  this  important  place  was  followed  by  a  truce 

Truce,  1346-1385.  r  r  r  J 

between  the  two  monarchs. 
The  disasters    of  the  war   took   away  nothing  from   the   pride    or 
the  magnificence  of  Philip  of  Valois.     When  his  treasury  was  empty 
he  altered  the  coinage,  or  else  united  together  the  pre- 

New  taxes.  .  . 

lates,  barons,  and  certain  deputies  of  the  towns,  upon 
whom  he  imposed  his  will.  Through  them  he  caused  new  taxes  to  be 
sanctioned,  and  it  was  thus  that  he  decreed  the  tax  of  the  twentieth 
denier  on  the  price  of  all  merchandise  sold,  and  thus  that  he  estab- 
lished La  Gabelle*  transferring  to  the  fiscal  power  the  monopoly  of 

salt  throughout  all  the  kingdom.     The  preamble  of  his 

Establishment  of  °  °  r 

LaGabeiie.  edicts  tended  to    show  that  they  were  issued   for   the 

welfare  and  in  the  interest  of  good  people,  and  by  the  national  will  ,- 
however,  the  States- General  were  only  on  one  single  occasion  legally 
convoked  during  this  reign,  and  merely  distinguished  themselves  by 
their  servility. 

The  frightful  plague,   known  under  the  name  of    The  Plague   of 
Florence,  spread  its  ravages  throughout  France  during 

Plague,  1348.  '      r  to  &  ° 

the  year  1348.  It  is  estimated  that  the  disease  cut  down 
about  one- third  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  kingdom.  The  ignorant  and 
ferocious  populace  accused  the  Jews  of  having  poisoned  the  rivers 
and  fountains,  and  those  unfortunates  were  burnt  and  massacred  by 
thousands.  So  many  calamities  served  as  food  for  superstition  and 
fanaticism.  Enthusiasts,  of  both  sexes,  believed,  like  the  Fakirs  of 
India,  that  their  sufferings  were  agreeable  to  the  divine  power.  They 
could  then  be  seen  in  numerous  bands,  traversing,  half- naked,  the  towns 
and  the  country,  cutting  their  shoulders  with  blows  from  the  lash,  in 
order,  as  they  said,  to  blot  out  the   sins   of  the  world  ;  they  called 

themselves  Flagellants.     Their  sect,  persecuted  and  ex- 

Flagellants.  J  . 

terminated  by  the  Church,  had  only  a  short  existence. 
Philip  VI.  had  rendered  the  power  of  the  Inquisition  formidable  in 
France  ;  nevertheless,  he  authorized  the  appeals  from  abuse  of  the  eccle- 
siastical tribunals  to  the  Parliament,  f 

*  See  Book  II.,  Chapter  III. 

J  This  appellation  was  given,  from  the  time  of  Saint  Louis,  to  the  appeal  authorized 

1327-1350]  DEATH   OP   PHILIP  VI.  233 

In  1350,  already  well  advanced  in  years,  he  married  the  young 
Blanche  de  Navarre,  sister  of  King  Charles  surnamed  The  Bad,  and 
died   in  less    than  a   month  afterwards,    at  the   age  of  Deathof  Phil; 
fifty- eight  years.     He  had  bought  the  seigniory  of  Mont-   SonofV?*" 
pellier,  for  a  hundred  and  twenty  thousand  crowns,  from   MoSpSier  and 
James  II.,  last  King  of  Majorca,  and  acquired  from  the   withSnclf, 
Dauphin,  Humbert  II.,  the  province  of  Dauphine,  which 
was  given  in  apanage  to  the    eldest  sons  of   the  kings  of  France. 
From  that  time  they  bore  the  name  of  Dauphins,*  and  the  frontiers  of 
the  kingdom  were  thus  extended  as  far  as  the  Alps. 

by  the  Gallican  Church  against  certain  ecclesiastical  acts  in  the  case  of  usurpation  or 
excess  of  power,  such  as  the  publication  of  bulls,  pastoral  letters,  and  other  despatches 
of  the  Court  of  Rome,  without  the  approbation  of  the  Government,  and,  in  general,  all 
violations  of  the  liberties  and  customs  of  the  Gallican  Church.  There  were  other  cases 
of  abuse,  which  only  interested  private  individuals.  In  this  second  category  must  be 
ranged  the  acts  which,  in  the  exercise  of  religion,  could  compromise  the  reputation  of 
the  citizens,  or  disturb  their  consciences  by  an  arbitrary  persecution.  The  injuries  pro- 
nounced publicly  from  the  pulpit,  the  refusal,  without  grounds,  to  proceed  to  a  burial,  &c, 
belong  to  these  cases  of  abuse.  From  Philip  of  Valois  to  the  French  Revolution,  Parlia- 
ment always  took  up  these  questions  ;  at  the  present  day  they  are  submitted  to  the 
Council  of  State. 

*  This  surname  had  been  given  to  the  Counts  of  Vienne  (in  Dauphine')  on  account  of 
the  dolphin  which  they  carried  upon  their  helmets  and  on  their  armorial  bearings. 

234  PROGRESS   OF  THE   BOURGEOISIE.         [Book  II.   Chap.  III. 




The  disasters  of  the  last  war  with  the  English,  the  prodigalities, 
the  frauds,  the  exactions  of  King  John,  and  the  dishonest  acts 
of  his  ministers,  were  the  principal  causes  which,  under  his  reign, 
rendered  the  States- General  independent  of  the  crown,  and  gave 
thern  a  new  authority,  which  was  almost  absolute.  This  revo- 
lution was  also  partly  due  to  the  growing  importance  of  the 
bourgeoisie,  or  of  the  Third  Estate,  in  numbers  and  in 

Prosrrcss  of  th.6 

bourgeoisie,  or      wealth.      Continual  transactions  with  the  Italians  and 

Third  Estate.  .  ■,-.       n         t  •,   •         -i       -n 

people  of  the  East  had  rapidly  developed  in  the  French 
nobility  habits  of  great  luxury.  In  the  fourteenth  century,  above 
all,  expensive  tastes  made  marked  progress,  and  gave  full  career  to 
new  branches  of  industry,  which  added  to  the  welfare  of  the  bourgeois 
class.  They,  when  they  acquired  wealth,  acquired  also  the  feeling  of 
power,  and  exercised  more  courage  and  perseverance  in  appealing  to 
and  defending  the  laws  of  individual  liberty  and  property. 

Until  the  reign  of  "King  John  the  members  of  this  class  had  not 
appeared  to  be  animated  with  any  national  spirit ;  they  appeared  to 
remain  strangers  to  the  political  interests  of  the  kingdom.  As  far  as 
they  were  concerned,  the  country  was  restricted  to  the  walled  precincts 
of  the  city ;  they  abandoned  to  the  great  vassals  and  the  King  the 
•care  of  watching  over  the  destinies  of  the  state,  and  all  their  energy 
displayed  itself  at  first,  not  against  the  government,  which  had  often 
protected  them,  but  against  the  tyrannical  oppression  of  their  respec- 
tive seigniors.  However,  when  in  its  turn  the  royal  authority  crushed 
them  under  an  intolerable  yoke,  they  seized,  in  order  to  resist  it,  upon 
the  moment  when  they  saw  it  shaken  by  unheard-of  misfortunes  and 
incredible  mistakes,  and  united  together  against  it  with  the  nobility 
and   clergy.     The  States-  General   from  that  time  took  an  imposing 

1350-1364]  ACCESSION   OF   KING  JOHN.  235 

aspect ;  but  the  result  of  their  energetic  efforts  was  only  transitory. 
Soon,  the  first  two  orders  of  the  nation  became  frightened  at  the 
success  obtained  in  the  States  against  the  authority  of  the  prince ; 
they  became  indignant  at  the  importance  which  the  order  of  the  Third 
Estate  had  suddenly  acquired,  and  began  to  see  that  the  interests  of 
that  order,  which  tended  to  social  equality,  were  directly  opposed  to 
their  own,  whose  existence  depended  upon  privileges :  they  aban- 
doned it  to  itself.  Hostile  to  the  crown  in  other  respects,  they  united 
with  it  against  the  Third  Estate,  and  the  disasters  with  which  the 
bourgeoisie  were  burdened,  in  consequence  of  some  ephemeral 
triumphs,  were  turned  to  the  advantage  of  royal  despotism. 

John  was  more  than  thirty  years  of  age  when,  in  1350,  he  succeeded 
Philip  de  Yalois,   his  father.     His  education,  although    . 

r  fe  '  o       Accession  of 

it  had  been  carefully  conducted,  had  made  him  more  King  John,  1350. 
a  valiant  knight  than  a  wise  and  experienced  king.  Impetuous 
in  character,  irresolute  in  mind,  rash  rather  than  brave,  prodigal, 
obstinate,  vindictive,  and  full  of  pride,  perfectly  instructed  in  the 
laws  of  chivalry,  and  ignorant  of  the  duties  of  the  throne,  he  was 
always  ready  to  sacrifice  to  the  prejudices  of  honour,  as  then  under- 
stood, the  rights  of  his  subjects  and  the  interests  of  the  state.  France 
was  exhausted  at  the  time  of  his  accession ;  nevertheless,  he  spared 
nothing  at  the  fetes  of  his  coronation.  The  expense  was  so  pro- 
digious, and  the  empoverishment  of  the  royal  treasury  so  great,  that 
the  King,  in  the  following  year,  found  himself  obliged  to  call  together 
the  States  of  the  kingdom. 

The  first  acts  of  his   reign   were    characterized   by  violence    and 
despotism.    He  seized  upon  the  person  of  the  Count  d'Eu, 
constable,  who,  a  prisoner  of  the  English  and  free  upon   despotism  of 
his  parole,  had  come  to  France  to  gather  together  his   Execution  of  the 

_  ,  ,    -  .  „   ,  Count  d'Eu. 

ransom.  John  accused  mm  ol  treason,  and  caused  his 
head  to  be  cut  off  without  trial.  During  the  same  year  he  issued 
eighteen  ordinances  concerning  the  alteration  of  the  coinage,  increas- 
ing and  diminishing  alternately  the  value  of  the  gold  mark,  and 
confiscated  to  his  own  profit  all  the  claims  of  the  Jew  and  Lombard 
merchants  established  in  'the  kingdom.  He  forbade  his  subjects 
to  pay  what  they  owed  to  them,  under  penalty  of  being  compelled 
to  pay  a  second  time.      These  disastrous  ordinances  struck  a  blow 

236  COMPETITION  FOR  THE   THRONE.        [Book  II.  Chap.  ILL 

at  the  heart  of  commerce  and  threatened  to  destroy  it.  Through 
tie  Jews  and  Italians  nearly  all  the  commerce  of  France  was  nego- 
tiated :  a  great  number  left  the  country ;  the  others,  in  order  to. 
compensate  themselves  for  their  risk,  exacted  enormous  profits,  which 
increased  the  general  misery.  The  King  felt  no  fear,  after  these 
iniquitous  acts,  in  summoning  together  the  States  of  his  kingdom ; 
and  such  was  still,  at  that  period,  the  ignorance  or  submission  of  the 
deputies,  that  they  did  not  raise  a  murmur.  The  monarch  treated 
with  those  of  each  state  in  particular,  obtained  from  each  that  which 
he  wished,  and  then  dismissed  them.* 

These  new  resources  were  exhausted  at  the  moment  when  the  truce 
concluded  between    England  and   France  had   expired. 

Competition  for  . 

the  throne  of        Edward  reproached    Kino*    John  with  having1  deprived 

France.  .  r  °  ... 

him  of  the  ransom  of  the  Constable  by  assassinating  him,, 
and  swore  to  avenge  himself  for  that  crime.  Another  enemy,  nearly 
as  formidable,  declared,  about  the  same  time,  war  against  France  -y 
this  was  Charles,  King  of  Navarre  and  Count  of  Evreux.  This  prince,, 
as  well  as  Edward,  had,  on  the  female  side,  rights  to  the  throne,  and 
he  was,  moreover,  nearer  by  a  degree,  as  he  was  son  of  a  daughter  of 
Lotus  le  Hutin.  King  John,  of  whom  he  was  the  son-in-law,  had 
the  imprudence  to  incur  his  enmity  by  not  paying  faithfully  over  the 
dower  of  his  daughter,  while  he  himself  piled  up  his  wealth,  and 
appointed  as  Constable  the  Spaniard  Charles  de  la  Cerdra,  the  personal 
enemy  of  the  King  of  Navarre.  That  monarch,  whose  vices  and 
cruelties  had  fixed  upon  him  the  surname  of  The  JBad,  took  the 
Assassination  f  Constable  by  surprise  at  Aigle,  in  Normandy,  and  assas- 
ChariesSdebia  sinated  him.  Then  calling  round  him  all  his  barons  and 
Kni-a0f  Navarre  n^s  Norman  nobles,  he  braved  the  fury  of  King  John^ 
iaries  the  Bad.  .^j^  powerless  to  reduce  him  by  arms,  summoned  him 
to  the  throne.  Charles  of  Navarre  consented  to  appear  there,  re- 
ceived the  pardon  of  the  King,  and  became  reconciled  to  him  by  the 
treaty  of  Yalogne. 

•    War,  however,  broke    out  with   England.     The  King  issued  new 
ordinances  for  the  falsification  of  the  coinage  •  the  gold  mark  mounted 

*  This  first  assembly,  of  which  the  roll  was  afterwards  rendered  void,  was  the  only 
one  under  John  where  the  deputies  of  the  two  great  divisions  of  the  kingdom,  the 
countries  of  the  Langue  d'Oil  and  the  Langue  d'Oc,  were  represented. 

1850-1364]  THE    STATES-GENERAL,    1355.  237 

up  frorn  four  livres  to  seventeen,  and  then  fell  back  again  to  four 
livres.  These  odious  proceedings  only  brought  into  the  treasury 
insufficient  resources.  The  King,  in  order  to  create  new  means, 
convoked  the  States- General  of  the  Langue  d'Oil  to  Paris  in  1355. 

The  States  met  together  on  the  2nd  of  December,  in  the  Great 
Chamber   of  Parliament.       The  Archbishop    of  Rouen, 

-,-!-,  ,      /-in  -n  t  States-General  of 

Pierre  de   la  ±orest,  Chancellor  oi  .trance,  opened  the  the  Langue  crou, 


Assembly,  and  requested  subsidies  for  the  war.  John  de 
Craon,  Archbishop  of  Reims,  in  the  name  of  the  clergy ;  Gauthier  de 
Brienne,  Duke  of  Athens,  in  the  name  of  the  nobility  ;  Etienne  Marcel, 
head  magistrate  of  the  merchants,  in  the  name  of  the  Third  Estate, — 
requested  permission  to  consult  among  themselves  concerning  the 
subsidies  to  be  granted  and  the  abuses  to  be  reformed.  Their  first 
declaration  announced  that  a  revolution  had  taken  place   T 

*  Important  acts 

in  their  minds.  They  carried,  that  no  rule  should  have  of  the  states, 
the  force  of  law  until  it  had  been  approved  by  the  three  orders,  and 
that  any  order  which  had  refused  its  consent  should  not  be  bound  by 
the  vote  of  the  other  two.  By  this  famous  declaration,  the  Third 
Estate  caused  itself  to  be  recognized  as  a  political  power,  equal  to  that 
of  the  clergy  and  the  nobility.  The  demands  of  the  King  were 
solemnly  discussed ;  and,  before  subscribing  to  them,  the  States 
enacted  that  the  value  of  the  silver  mark  should  be  stable,  and  remain 
fixed  at  four  livres  and  twelve  sous.  They  suppressed  the  law  of 
taking  possession,  which  gave  to  the  purveyors  of  the  King,  to  the 
princes,  and  to  the  great  officers,  the  right  of  taking,  without  pay- 
ment, in  their  journeys,  everything  that  they  considered  necessary  for 
their  convenience.  They  forbade  all  prosecution  for  the  recovery  of 
property  seized  from  the  Italian  merchants,  and  abolished  the  monopo- 
lies established  by  people  in  government  places.  In  return,  they 
undertook  to  furnish  thirty  thousand  soldiers  and  five  millions  of 
livres  to  make  up  the  balance  for  a  year ;  but  they  wished  that  this 
money  should  remain  in  the  hands  of  their  receivers  and  be  levied  by 
them.  They  made  it  also  necessary  that  they  should  assemble  again 
on  the  1st  of  March  in  the  following  year  to  receive  the  accounts  of 
the  treasurers  ;  then  at  the  end  of  a  year  to  renew  the  taxes,  if  there 
were  necessity,  and  to  provide  for  the  expenses  of  the  war.  The  King 
undertook  to  respect  these  conditions. 

238  NEW  TAXES.  [Book  II.  Chap.  III. 

In  this  manner  the  nation  appears  to  have  regained  its  ancient 
periodical  assemblies,  and  the  monarchy  was  "brought  to  recognize  the 
share  of  sovereign  power  between  itself  and  the  three  orders  of  the 
States- General.  But  these  latter,  skilful  in  reforming  abuses,  and  in 
gaining  for  themselves  precious  rights,  showed  in  the  assessment  of 
taxes  *  a  deplorable  incapacity.  Composed  of  men  without  experience, 
assembled  from  all  parts  of  the  kingdom,  and  unknown  to  one  another ; 
only  having  obtained  from  the  King  three  days  in  order  to  agree  upon 
the  means  of  filling  the  treasury,  of  reinsuring  confidence,  of  organiz- 
ing the  army,  and  of  driving  the  enemy  from  the  kingdom,  they 
raised  the  tax  of  the  gdbelle,  or  the  tax  upon  salt,  and 
established  an  aide  of  eight  deniers  in  the  livre  upon 
the  sale  of  all  merchandise. 

The  first  of  these  taxes  fell  upon  a  commodity  indispensable  to  all, 
and  struck  at  the  poorest  and  most  numerous  class ;  the  second,  in 

*  From  the  fall  of  the  Roman  Empire,  among  the  Gauls,  there  no  longer  existed  a 
general  annual  revenue,  and  the  feudal  taxes,  exacted  upon  the  domains  of  the  crown, 
constituted  the  only  revenues  of  the  King  of  France,  who,  in  this  respect,  was  looked 
upon  as  a  simple  seignior.  The  military  service  at  their  own  expense  was  the  only  duty 
imposed  upon  the  great  vassals,  and 'the  natural  consequence  of  this  absence  of  revenue 
was  that  perpetual  and  arbitrary  variation  of  the  market  price  of  money  decreed  by  the 
sovereigns,  in  order,  fictitiously,  to  raise  the  value  of  their  feebl^  resources.  However, 
in  certain  critical  positions,  the  kings  addressed  themselves  to  the  States-General,  in 
order  to  obtain  the  aides,  or  extraordinary  help,  of  which  the  assemblies  voted  the 
gathering  for  a  limited  period  ;  the  taxes  might  be  upon  the  revenue,  upon  the  sale  of 
merchandise,  or  upon  landed  property.  Such  was  the  nature  of  the  taxes  established  in 
1335.  This  system  continued  until  1439,  at  which  period  Charles  VII.  established  an 
annual  and  permanent  tax. 

There  were  then  in  France  four  principal  branches  of  public  revenue,  the  names  of 
which  reappear  every  moment  in  this  history,  and  it  is  of  importance  to  know  them. 

1st.  The  land  tax,  called  taille,  because  in  ancient  times,  the  use  of  writing  being 
little  diffused,  they  noted  the  payment  of  this  tax  by  means  of  entailles,  or  notches  cut 
in  a  piece  of  wood.     It  was  only  collected  by  people  of  mean  origin. 

2nd.  The  aides.  This  name,  which  at  first  included  all  the  taxes,  ended  by  being 
applied  specially  to  the  taxes  laid  upon  drinks,  beasts,  fish,  wood,  tallow  and  candles, 
the  weirs  of  rivers  and  canals — in  one  word,  to  that  which  we  call,  at  the  present  day, 
indirect  taxation. 

3rd.  The  gabelle  (from  the  German  word  gale,  which  signifies  a  tax).  This  was  the 
tax  upon  salt.  Little  burdensome  in  its  origin,  this  tax  became  at  last  the  most  heavy 
charge  and  the  most  vexatious  of  the  whole  ancient  system  of  French  finance,  every  head 
of  a  family  [throughout  the  most  part  of  the  provinces  being  compelled  to  buy  very 
dearly  from  the  royal  granaries  a  certain  quantity  of  salt,  fixed  by  edicts,  and  repre- 
senting the  supposed  consumption  of  his  family. 

4th.  The  revenues  of  the  domain  of  the  crown. 

1350-1364]  CIVIL  TKOUBLES.  239 

•which  persons  of  every  estate  and  all  conditions  were  included, 
wounded  the  pretensions  of  the  nobility  and  clergy,  and  caused  an 
intolerable  inquisition  to  weigh  heavily  upon  the  mercantile  classes, 
and  interfered  with  every  commercial  operation. 

Soon  fatal  symptoms  of  discord  made  themselves  manifest.  The 
people  murmured,  the  foreign  merchants  abandoned  the 

r      r  '  a  .  Civil  troubles. 

kingdom,  the  French  merchants  gave  up  their  business, 
and  commerce  was  extinguished  ;  both  town  and  country  were  opposed 
to  the  gdbelle,  and  spread  complaints  against  the  States  everywhere. 
The  ecclesiastics  refused  to  pay  the  tax,  threatening  to  suspend  alto- 
gether the  divine  service.  Many  seditions  broke  out.  Arras  arose, 
and  fourteen  of  the  bourgeois  were  slaughtered  by  the  mob.  In  the 
middle  of  these  calamities  the  time  arrived  when  the  States  ought  to 
assemble  anew ;  but  already  the  people,  incapable  of  going  back  to  the 
source  of  evil,  saw  the  deputies  with  mere  distrust ;  they  suspected 
them  of  complicity  with  their  oppressors.  A  large  number  of  the 
towns  abstained  from  sending  representatives  to  the  States ;  the 
Normans  and  the  Picards  refused  to  be  represented  there,  and  declared 
that  they  would  not  pay  the  two  established  taxes.  The  King  of 
Navarre  and  the  Count  d'Harcourt  supported  the  disaffected.  The 
new  States- General,  much  less  numerous  than  their  predecessors, 
abolished  the  gabelle  and  the  aide  of  eight  deniers  in  the  pound  on  the 
sale  of  all  merchandise,  and  replaced  those  imposts  by  a  tax  rendered 
proportional  to  the  fortune  of  each  person. 

However,  the  King,  who  had  only  granted  a  pardon  to  Charles  of 
Navarre  for  the  murder  of  his  Constable  through  impotence  to  avenge 
him,  seized  an  occasion  to  satisfy,  at  one  blow,  his  ancient  and  his 
new  resentments.  He  learned  that  on  a  fixed  day  the  Dauphin  had 
invited  to  his  table,  at  the  chateau  of  Rouen,  the  King  of  Navarre, 
the  Count  d'Harcourt,  and  some  other  noblemen.  He  immediately 
left  Orleans,  where  he  then  resided,  entered  Rouen  on  the  day  ap- 
pointed, followed  by  a  numerous  escort,  and  presented  himself  at  the 
entrance  of  the  hall  where  the  nobles  were  seated  at  table.  Lord 
Arnould  d'Andeneham  preceded  him,  and,  drawing  his  sword,  said, 
"  Let  no  one  stir  for  anything  that  he  may  see,  unless  he  wishes  to 
•die  by  this  sword."  King  John  advanced  towards  the  table,  and  the 
guests,  seized  with  terror,  rose  in  order  to  salute  him,  when,  laying 

240  ARREST    OF   CHARLES    OF   NAVARRE.         [Book  II.    Chap.  III. 

his  hand  upon  Charles  of  Navarre,  the  King  stopped  him,  and,  shaking 

him  with  rudeness,   "  Traitor,"  said  he,    "you  are  not 

of  Navarre  by    '   worthy  of  sitting  at  the  table  of  my  son.     I  neither  wish 

King  John.  . 

to  eat  nor  to  drink  as  long  as  you  shall  live.  A  witness 
of  this  violence,  Oollinet  de  Breville,  a  knight  of  the  King  of  Navarre, 
pointed  his  sword  at  the  breast  of  the  King,  and  said  that  he  would 
slay  him.  "Let  this  man  and  his  master  be  arrested,"  said  King 
John.  His  sergeant-at-arms  immediately  seized  the  King  of  Navarre, 
who  vainly  implored  mercy.  The  Dauphin,  then  very  young,  threw 
himself  at  the  feet  of  his  father.  "Oh,  sire!"  said  he,  "you  will 
dishonour  me.  What  will  they  say  of  me,  when  I  have  invited  the 
King  and  the  nobles  to  my  house,  and  you  have  treated  them  thus  ? 
They  will  say  that  I  have  been  treacherous."  "  Hold  your  peace, 
Charles !  "  answered  the  King  ;  "  they  are  evil  traitors  :  you  know 
not  all  that  I  know."  The  King  then  advanced  some  paces,  and, 
seizing  a  club,  he  struck  the  Count  d'Harcourt  with  it  between  the 
shoulders,  and  said,  "  Proud  traitor !  by  the  soul  of  my  father  you 
shall  not  escape."  Two  nobles  of  the  suite  of  the  King  of  Navarre 
were  arrested  with  that  prince  and  his  knight.  King  John  caused  his 
prisoners  to  be  dragged  outside  the  chateau,  and  said  to  the  chief 
of  his    guards,    "  Free  us  from  these   men."      D'Harcourt   and   the 

three  noblemen  were  then  immediately  beheaded  before 

Execution  of  the 

Count  d'Harcourt   }±imt     Roval  dignitv  saved  Charles   of  Navarre.      John 

and  other  J  °        J 

noblemen,  1355.     Spared  his  head,  but  he  held  him  prisoner  closely  con- 
fined in  a  tower  of  the  Louvre,  and  seized  his  French  apanage.* 

This  act  of  violence  drew  down  great  misfortunes  on  the  kingdom. 
Philip  of  Navarre,  father  of  King  Charles,  and  Geoffrey  d'Harcourt, 
uncle  of  the  beheaded  Count,  immediately  united  themselves  with  the 
King  of  England,  and  recognized  him  as  the  King  of  Prance,  and 
paid  him  homage  for  their  domains.  Edward  proclaimed  himself 
the  avenger  of  the  executed  gentlemen.  He  sent  a  formidable  army 
into  Normandy,  while  the  Prince  of  Wales  carried  fire  and  sword  into 
the  heart  of  the  country,  ravaged  Auvergne,  Limousin,  and  Berry,  and 
approached  Tours.  John,  whose  vindictive  fury  had  brought  down 
this  tempest  upon  France,  made  an  oath  that  he  would  fight  with  the 
Prince  of  Wales  wherever  he  should  meet  him,  and  called  together  all 

*  Froissarfc,  Chronicles. 

1350-1364]  BATTLE   OF   POITIERS.  241 

liis  nobility.  The  army  assembled  in  1356,  in  the  plains  of  Chartres, 
and  overtook  the  English  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Poitiers.  Already 
scarcity  had  made  itself  felt  in  the  camp  of  the  enemy,  and  the  Black 
Prince  offered  very  advantageous  terms  for  France.  If  John  had  not 
fought,  the  English  would  have  been  conquered  by  famine  and  compelled 
to  lay  down  their  arms  ;  but  so  much  prudence  did  not  enter  into  the 
spirit  of  those  chivalric  times.  Battles  were  not  founded  on  calcu- 
lations, but  were  merely  the  fruit  of  an  unexpected  meeting  and  a 
warlike  impulse ;  they  decided  less  the  existence  than  the  honour 
of  nations.  The  French  army,  besides,  was  more  than  fifty  thou- 
sand strong,  while  the  army  of  the  enemy  only  consisted  of  eight 
thousand.  King  John,  then,  resolved  to  fight :  he  felt  confident  of 

The  Black  Prince  had  only  two  thousand  knights,  four  thousand 
archers,  and  two  thousand  foot  soldiers,  and  he  saw  before  him  an 
army  of  fifty  thousand  men,  amongst  whom,  besides  the  King  of 
France  and  his  four  sons,  there  were  twenty- six  dukes  B 
or  counts,  and  a  hundred  and  forty  knights  banneret.  Poitiers. 1356- 
He  fixed  his  camp  at  Maupertuis,  two  leagues  north  of  Poitiers,  upon 
a  hill  covered  with  hedges,  bushes,  and  vines,  impracticable  for  cavalry, 
and  favourable  to  sharpshooters ;  he  concealed  his  archers  in  the 
bushes,  dug  ditches,  and  surrounded  himself  with  palisades  and 
waggons.  In  fact,  he  converted  his  camp  into  a  great  redoubt,  open 
only  in  the  centre  by  a  narrow  defile,  which  was  lined  by  a  double 
hedge.  At  the  top  of  this  defile  was  the  little  English  army,  crowded 
together,  and  protected  on  every  side.  There  was,  moreover,  an 
ambuscade  of  six  hundred  knights  and  archers  behind  a  small  hill 
which  separated  the  two  armies. 

The  French  army  was  disposed  in  an  oblique  line,  in  three 
battalions  or  divisions.  The  left  and  most  advanced  wing  was 
commanded  by  the  Duke  of  Orleans,  brother  of  the  King  ;  the  centre, 
somewhat  further  back,  by  the  sons  of  the  King ;  the  right  wing  or 
reserve  by  the  King  himself.  The  cries  of  the  combatants  could 
already  have  been  heard,  when  two  legates  interposed  their  mediation. 
The  Prince  of  Wales  offered  to  restore  his  conquests  and  his  prisoners, 
and  not  to  serve  against  France  for  seven  years  ;  but  John  exacted 
that  he  should  give  himself  up  as  a  prisoner  with  a  hundred  knights. 


242  KING   JOHN   IS   MADE    PRISONER.  [Book  II.  Chap.  III. 

The  English,  refused,  and  the  King,  who  could  have  taken  him  by 
famine,  ordered  the  battle. 

A  corps  of  three  hundred  French  men-at-arms  rushed  into  the 
defile ;  a  shower  of  arrows  destroyed  it.  The  corps  which  followed, 
disturbed  by  this  attack,  threw  itself  back  upon  the  left  wing,  and 
threw  it  into  disorder.  This  was  only  a  combat  of  the  advanced  guard ; 
but  the  English  ambuscade  throwing  itself  suddenly  upon  the  centre 
division,  that  also  was  seized  with  panic  and  terror,  and  took  to  flight 
without  having  fought.  At  this  sight,  Chandos,  the  most  illustrious 
captain  of  the  English  army,  said  to  the  Black  Prince,  "  Ride  forward : 
the  day  is  yours !  "  The  English  descended  the  hill,  and  carried 
everything  before  them.  "  Three  sons  of  the  King,"  says  Froissart, 
"  with  more  than  eight  hundred  lances,  in  good  condition  and  whole, 
took  to  flight  without  ever  "approaching  their  enemies."*  The  left 
wing  took  refuge  in  disorder  behind  the  division  of  the  King,  which 
was  already  in  trouble,  but  intact.  The  English  went  out  from  the 
defile  in  good  order,  and  advancing  into  the  plain  found  before  them 
that  division  where  was  the  King,  his  youngest  son,  and  his  brilliant 
staff  of  nobles.  The  French  had  still  the  advantage  over  their 
enemies,  who  were  very  inferior  to  them  in  numbers  ;  but  John, 
remembering,  to  his  misfortune,  that  the  disaster  at  Cressy  had  been 
caused  by  the  French  cavalry,  cried  out,  "  On  foot !  on  foot !  "  He 
himself  descended  from  his  horse  and  placed  himself  at  the  head  of  his 
•own  men,  a  battle-axe  in  his  hand.  The  engagement  was  fierce  and 
bloody  ;  but  the  French  knights  were  unable  to  struggle  on  foot 
against  the  great  horses  of  the  English  and  the  arrows  of  the  archers. 
They  fought  until  they  were  all  killed  or  taken,  but  without  order,  by 
troops  or  by  companies,  as  they  found. themselves  gathered  together  or 
scattered.  Thus  perished  all  the  flower  of  the  chivalry  of  France.  The 
King  remained  almost  alone,  with  bare  head,  wounded,  intrepid, 
fighting  bravely  with  his  axe,  accompanied  by  his  young  son,  who 
parried  the  blows  of  his  enemies.     He  was  obliged  to  give  himself  up. 

The  Black  Prince,  scarcely  twenty- six  years  of  age,  showed  himself 

worthy   of  his   good  fortune:    he   surrounded   the  van- 
King- John  is  J  .  1. 
made  prisoner.      quished  King  with  respect,  serving  mm  at  table,  standing, 

with  head  uncovered,  and  declaring  that  he  had  deserved  the  prize 

*  Chronicles, 

1350-1364]  DESOLATION   OF   THE    KINGDOM.  243 

for  valour  on  that  memorable  day.  Such  was  the  disastrous  issue  of 
the  celebrated  battle  of  Poitiers.  The  Dauphin,  already  named  by  his 
father  lieutenant-general  of  the  kingdom,  took  the  reins  of  state 
during  the  captivity  of  the  King ;  he  issued  six  ordinances  concerning 
the  coinage,  in  order  to  provide  for  the  first  wants  of  the  treasury, 
and  assembled  at  Paris  in  the  same  year  the  States  of  the  Langue 

The  disaster  of  Poitiers  and  the  captivity  of  the  King  had  plunged 
the  kingdom  in  sorrow,  and  every  one,  at  the  height  of 

to  J  '  _  °  States-General  of 

this  dangerous  crisis,  understood  the  extreme  importance  1356- 
of  the  States- General  convoked  by  the  Dauphin  in  1356  :  eight  hundred 
deputies  were  sent  to  it,  and  it  was  presided  over  by  Charles  de 
Blois,  Duke  of  Brittany.  On  the  demand  for  fresh  subsidies,  they 
answered  by  the  election  of  several  commissioners,  taken  from  each 
order,  and  who  in  their  imperious  requests  demanded — the  sole  power 
in  matters  of  finance  throughout  the  states ;  the  power  to  bring  to 
judgment  the  counsellors  of  the  King ;  the  creation  of  a  permanent 
council  of  four  prelates,  twelve  knights,  and  twelve  bourgeois,  in  order 
to  assist  the  young  regent ;  lastly,  the  right  of  the  States  to  meet 
together  without  royal  .  convocation.  Upon  these  conditions  they 
agreed  to  furnish  an  army  of  thirty  thousand  men. 

Jealous  of  the  authority  which  the  States  arrogated  to  themselves, 
the  Dauphin  requested  time  for  reflection ;  he  dragged  out  the  dis- 
cussions to  great  length,  flattered  the  deputies,  deceived  them  by 
vain  speeches,  and  tired  them  ;  the  greater  part  returned  to  their 
homes ;  and  at  last  the  assembly  separated  without  obtaining  any- 
thing or  granting  anything. 

The  English  then  desolated  the  most  beautiful  provinces  of  the 
kingdom  ;    commerce  was  annihilated ;  the  soldiers,  dis-   -     ,  „ 

7  '  Desolation  of  the 

banded  and  without  pay,  ravaged  the  country.  There  kinsdom- 
was  no  more  safety  for  the  peasants  in  their  cottages,  for  the  monks 
and  nuns  in  their  convents ;  the  fields  abandoned  remained  unculti- 
vated, and  the  towns  received  a  multitude  of  men  without  asylum  and 
without  bread,  who  caused  famine  to  enter  with  them  within  their 
walls  ;  the  enemy,  in  short,  was  at  the  gates  of  Paris. 

In  the  midst  of   so  much  calamity,   Etienne  Marcel,  chief  of  the 

R  2 

244  CONCESSIONS   OF  THE   DAUPHIN.         [Book  II.  Chap.  Ill, 

merchants  of  the  capital,  a  true  representative  of  the  Third  Estate  in 
the  fourteenth  century,  displayed  great  courage  and  the  qualities 
of  a  superior  genius.  He  reanimated  the  Parisians,  finished  and 
fortified  the  precincts  within  the  walls  of  the  town,  caused  iron 
chains  to  be  stretched  across  the  streets,  accustomed  the  bourgeois 
to  arms,  and,  strengthened  by  an  immense  popularity,  he  presented 
himself  at  the  famous  States  of  1357,  convoked  at  Paris, 


states-General  of  in  general  assembly,  by  the  Dauphin.     Robert  le  Coq, 


Bishop  of  Laon,  spoke  for  the  clergy,  John  de  Pequigny 
for  the  nobility,  and  Etienne  for  the  Third  Estate.  Assembled  in  a 
time  of  disorder,  convoked  by  a  prince  who  could  do  nothing  without 
their  concurrence,  in  the  heart  of  an  excited  country,  the  new  States 
reproduced  the  requests  of  the  preceding  assembly,  adding  to  them 
other   pretensions,    and    forcing    upon   him   all   their   demands.     In 

exchange  for  a  subsidy  destined  to  furnish  thirty  thou- 

Concessionsofthe  ,       ..  .   -  .  .,  n  n 

Dauphin.    Ordi-  sand  men,  and  which  was  to  be  collected  and  managed, 

nance  of  1357. 

not  by  the  people  of  the  King,  but  by  those  of  the 
States,  the  Dauphin  engaged  solemnly  to  turn  aside  nothing  for  his 
personal  interest,  from  the  money  consecrated  to  the  defence  of  the 
kingdom,  to  refuse  every  letter  of  pardon  for  atrocious  crimes,  no  more 
to  sell  or  farm  out  the  offices  of  judicature,  to  seek  out  and  to  punish 
prevaricators  in  the  Chamber  of  Exchequer  and  in  that  of  Public 
Inquiry,  to  establish  good  money,  and  to  bring  about  no  further 
change  without  the  consent  of  the  three  States,  to  prohibit  every 
prize  for  royal  service,  and  to  cause  the  collectors  accused  of  em- 
bezzlement to  render  an  account.  Such  were,  in  brief,  the  principal 
dispositions  of  the  celebrated  ordinance  of  1357.  The  Dauphin  swore 
besides  that  he  would  conclude  no  truce  without  the  sanction  of 
the  States,  and  that  he  would  dismiss  as  "  unworthy  of  all  charge," 
twenty- two  counsellors,  to  whom  public  hatred  attributed  all  the 
misfortunes  of  the  country.  The  States  before  separating  agreed 
to  meet  again  three  times  before  the  end  of  the  year,  and  appointed 
thirty-six  commissioners,  taken  from  their  midst,  to  administrate 
finances  and  direct  affairs,  in  concert  with  the  prince,  during  the 
intervals  of  the  sittings. 

By  these  conditions,,  to  which  the  Dauphin  consented,  we  can  judge 

1350-1864]  KING   JOHN  IS   TAKEN  TO   LONDON.  245 

of  the  number  of  grievances  raised  against  the  court  and  the  nobles,  and 
of  the  enormity  of  the  abuses  under  which  the  nation   Considerations 
groaned.     These  reforms  were  attempted  by  the  prevot   ordered  by  the 

.  States,  in  1327. 

Etienne  Marcel,  and  by  the  Bishop  Robert  le  Coq,  ancient 
legist,  both  of  whom  used  culpable  violence  to  sustain  them.  The 
lasting  success  of  their  great  enterprise  was  impossible.  The  only  class 
which  could  then  rightly  believe  itself  interested  in  the  triumph  of  the 
principles  which  they  established  was  the  class  of  the  Third  Estate,  or 
bourgeoisie,  and  they  did  not  form  a  body  animated  throughout  by  the 
same  spirit.  Disseminated  through  a  great  number  of  towns,  feudally 
in  submission  to  a  similar  number  of  powerful  nobles,  and,  for  the 
most  part,  recently  united  with  the  kingdom,  the  diversity  of  their 
customs,  their  manners,  their  prejudices,  and  of  their  material  in- 
terests, rendered  the  men  of  the  bourgeois  class  rivals,  and  jealous  of 
one  another ;  no  social  tie  existed  between  them ;  feebly  affected  by 
the  general  destinies  of  the  state,  which  offered  to  them  no  advantage, 
they  revolted  against  the  sacrifices  which  its  defence  exacted.  When 
they  could  do  so  with  impunity,  they  disavowed  their  representatives, 
and  did  not  lend  them  the  support  necessary  against  the  jealousy  of 
the  privileged  orders.  It  was  necessary  that  the  action  of  a  central 
and  energetic  power  should  make  itself  felt  in  the  time  still  to  come,  in 
order  to  blend  together  so  many  particular  wishes  in  one  general  will, 
and  before  there  could  arise  in  France  a  national  spirit  wise  enough 
to  comprehend  the  advantages  that  a  vast  and  powerful  association 
could  procure,  and  the  duties  that  it  would  impose ;  a  spirit  also 
enlightened  enough  to  appreciate  at  its  just  value  public  liberty,  and 
strong  enough  to  conquer  it  and  defend  it.  The  year  1357  was  the 
period  when  the  States- General  had  greatest  power  during  the  Middle 
Ages  ;  from  that  time  they  rapidly  declined  ;  they  lost,  as  did  also 
the  Third  Estate,  all  political  influence,  and  for  some  centuries  were 
only  empty  shadows  of  national  assemblies. 

King  John  had  been  conducted  from  Poitiers  to  Bordeaux,  thence 
to  London,  and  during  the  negotiations  on  the  subject  of  His  ransom 
a  truce  of  two  years  was  concluded  between  England  and  France. 
About  the  same  time  the  death  of  Geoffroy  d'Harcourt  freed  the 
Dauphin  from  an  implacable  foe.  Charles  breathed  again ;  he  had 
only  given  way   by   constraint  to  the  wish  of  the    States,  and  he 

246  THE   KING   OF  NAVAKEE   SET   FREE.       [Book  II.  Chap.  III. 

hastened  to  break  from  their  yoke  as  soon  as  he  could  dispense  with 
dissimulation.  He  retained  the  ministers  whom  he  had  promised  to 
dismiss  and  prosecute,  and,  at  their  instigation,  he  encouraged  the  pre- 
tensions of  the  nobles  and  the  murmurs  of  the  people  in  opposition  to 
the  votes  of  the  States.  The  contributions  consented  to  by  them  were 
never  paid ;  the  prince  then'declared  that  he  alone  ruled,  and  dismissed 
the  thirty-six  commissioners.  They,  feeling  that  public  opinion,  the 
only  power  capable  of  sustaining  them,  had  abandoned  them,  separated 
without  any  resistance.  From  that  time  the  struggle  was  only  sustained 
by  the  bourgeoisie  of  Paris,  and  its  magistrates  stretched  their  authority 
over  the  whole  of  France.*  Troubled  with  the  hostile  disposition  of 
the  Dauphin,  the  chiefs  of  the  movement  desired  to  gain  a  protector 
capable  of  defending  them,  and  cast  their  regards  upon  the  King  of 
Navarre,  then  a  prisoner  in  the  castle  of  Arleux.     John 

The  King  of  '  r 

Navarre  set  at       de  Pequig-nv  took  the  fortress,  and  set  free  the  Kins', 

liberty  by  John  1     B    J  '  ^  °' 

de  Pequigny,  wk0  returned  to  Paris,  where  he  was  received  as  the 
future  liberator  of  the  kingdom. 
The  new  States  assembled  on  the  17th  of  November,  1357,  but  they 
only  found  a  few  deputies  for  the  clergy,  and  not  a  single  noble ;  their 
influence  was  void,  and  the  struggle  continued  between  the  Commons 
of  Paris  and  the  Dauphin,  who  failed  in  his  promises,  and  braved 
public  opinion  by  drawing  nearer  to  his  person  the  ministers  and 
great  officers  condemned  by  the  preceding  States.  No  tribunal  had 
dared  to  prosecute  them ;  they  affected  the  most  profound  contempt 
for  the  nation,  threatening  to  re-establish  all  the  abuses.  The  moment 
of  the  crisis  had  arrived.  The  celebrated  prevot  of  the  merchants, 
Marcel,  had  recourse  to  violent  measures.  He  made  the  Parisians 
adopt  a  national  colour,  and  gave  them  for  a  rallying  sign  a  red  and 
blue  hood,  the  colours  of  the  town  of  Paris.  He  appeared,  followed  by 
armed  men,  before  the  Dauphin,  on  either  side  of  whom  he  found  the 
Lord  of  Conflans,  Marshal  of  Champagne,  and  Robert  de  Clermont, 
Marshal  of  Normandy,   both   of  whom  had  been  proscribed  by  the 

*  The  convocation  of  the  States- General,  at  Paris,  on  the  7th  of  November,  1357,  was 
made  conjointly  by  the  Dauphin  and  hj  the  prevot  of  the  merchants  of  Paris.  "And 
sent  his  letters  to  the  people  of  the  Church,  to  the  nobles,  and  to  the  walled  towns,  and 
summoned  them.  The  said  prevot  also  sent  his  letter%,  spoken  of  above,  with  the 
letters  of  my  lord  the  Duke." — Chronicles  of  Saint-Denis. 

1350-1364]  ETIENNE   MARCEL.  247 

States.     Some  words  were  exchanged  between  the  prince  and  Marcel  ; 
then,    upon  a  sign    from  the  prevot,    the   men    of    his 

•  t  t       j_t  Murder  of  the 

suite    drew    their    swords    and     massacred     tne    two   marshals  of 

Champagne  and 

marshals.     The  Dauphin,   covered  with  their  blood,  mi-   Normandy,  by 

the  order  of 

plored  his  life  from  Marcel,  who  placed  upon  his  head  Etienne  Marcel, 

x  A  prevot  of  the 

the  red  and  blue  hood,  and  conducted  him  to  the  Hotel  merchants. 

7  Marcel  makes 

de  Ville  under  the  safeguard  of  the  popular    colours.   h]™sel?™a,s*F 

°  r    jr  0f  pans,  1358. 

There  the  Dauphin,   seized  with  fright,  declared  to  the 

people  that  the  two  assassinated  marshals  were  traitors,  and  that  they 

had  deserved  their  fate.     Marcel  was  king  in  Paris. 

This  double  assassination,  in  restoring  for  some  time  power  to  the 
States,  did  not  consolidate  them,  but,  on  the  contrary,  only  rendered 
their  fall  more  certain;  it  raised  up  implacable  resentments  in  the 
heart  of  the  Dauphin  and  amongst  the  nobility.  Already  the  two 
privileged  orders  were  indignant  at  seeing  the  despised  bourgeois 
exercising  a  power  equal  to  their  own  ;  secret  hates  fermented,  the 
prejudices  of  the  nobility  divided  the  three  orders,  while  the  murder 
of  the  marshals  caused  discord  to  break  out.  The  nobles  of  Champagne 
assembled  together  and  demanded  vengeance  from  the  Dauphin ;  he, 
who  had  become  regent  of  the  kingdom  by  his  majority,  profited  by 
these  arrangements,  so  favourable  to  his  designs,  and  called  together 
the  States  at  Compiegne,  far  from  the  centre  of  agitation ;  the 
nobility  alone  presented  themselves  in  great  numbers,  and  the  reaction 
became  imminent.  Marcel  foresaw  the  storm,  and  prepared  for  the 
combat ;  he  attacked  the  Louvre,  then  out  of  the  capital,  and  took 
possession  of  it ;  he  united  the  town  with  the  chateau,  and  fortified 
the  precinct  within  the  walls.  The  regent  called  round  him  the  no- 
bility, and  assembled  seven  thousand  lancers,  while,  by  the  advice  of 
Marcel,  the  bourgeois  of  Paris  proclaimed  the  King  of 

.  r  &  Civil  war,  1358. 

.Navarre  their   captam-general.     Civil  war   commenced, 
and  with  it  a  new  scourge  showed  itself. 

The  people  in  the  country,  utterly  powerless  against  the  oppression 
which  presented  itself  on  every  side,  overcharged  with  taxes  by  the 
nobles,  despised  by  the  bourgeois,  pillaged  by  the  soldiers,  suffered  at 
this  period  from  intolerable  evils.  A  proverb  of  the  time  describes 
with  energy  their  excessive  misery.  The  nobles  were  in  the  habit  of 
calling  these  unfortunate  people  by  the  name  of  Jacques  Bonhomme, 


and  said  ironically,  "  Jacques  Bonhomme  does  not  part  with  his  money 
unless  lie  is  thrashed j  out  Jacques  Bonhomme  will  pay,  for  he  knows 
that  he  will  he  thrashed.  The  disaster  of  Poitiers  increased  the  evils 
of  this  unfortunate  class.  The  barons  and  gentlemen  taken  prisoners 
by  the  English,  and  released  upon  parole,  submitted  their  serfs  to 
atrocious  persecutions  in  order  to  tear  from  them  the  price  of  their 
ransoms.  Then  the  instinct  of  despair  united  the  peasants  ;  one  sole 
rp.    T         .         sentiment  seized  their  minds,  that  of  a  mad  vengeance. 

The  Jacquerie,  '  & 

V3i)8-  In  the   Beauvoisis*    they  arose  in  a  mass,    and  swore 

war  to  the  death  against  the  nobles.  They  burnt  their  castles,  the 
inhabitants  of  which  they  tortured  and  massacred  ;  they  violated  and 
murdered  women  and  girls,  and  pushed  their  fury  even  to  forcing 
children  to  eat  the  body  of  their  father,  which  they  had  burnt  before 
their  eyes.  In  fact,  they  committed  every  excess  to  which  ignorant 
and  barbarous  men,  for  a  long  period  victims  of  a  cruel  oppression, 
could  abandon  themselves  to.  In  a  short  time  they  were  masters  of 
ail  the  country  between  the  Oise  and  the  Seine  ;  many  towns,  Paris 
even,  received  them  as  allies  against  the  common  enemy.  This  rising 
received  in  history  the  name  of  the  Jacquerie.  It  was  soon  suppressed  ; 
the  nobility,  invincible  under  its  iron  armour,  exterminated  these  half- 
naked  wretches.  Dispersed  before  Meaux,  they  nearly  all  perished, 
and  the  plains  throughout  many  provinces  became  deserted. 

Paris  was  then  besieged  by  the  army  of  the  Dauphin  ;  the  bourgeois 
sie"-e  of  Pms  suspected  Charles  the  Bad  of  treachery,  and  dismissed 
theDaupnm.  him.  Soon  the  peril  of  the  capital  became  extreme,  and 
Marcel  had  no  other  hope  than  that  which  he  reposed  in  the  prince 
whom  they  had  just  expelled.  He  had  an  interview  with  the  King  of 
Navarre  ;  he  reminded  him  that  on  the  female  side  he  was  the  nearest 

*  Some  people  from  the  rural  towns,  without  any  chief,  assembled  in  Beauvoisis,  and  at 
first  did  not  number  one  hundred  men,  and  said  that  all  the  nobles  in  the  kingdom  of 
France,  chevaliers  and  knights,  disgraced  and  betrayed  the  kingdom,  and  that  it  would  be 
to  the  general  good  if  they  were  destroyed.  Then  they  assembled,  and  without  further 
counsel,  and  no  arms  except  sticks  tipped  with  iron  and  knives,  they  issued  forth.  .  .  . 
And  they  multiplied  so  greatly  that  they  were  soon  six  thousand  in  number  ;  and  where- 
ever  they  went  their  number  increased  ;  for  each  one  of  their  own  class  followed  them. 
(Chronicles  of  Froissart,  Book  I.,  Second  Part,  chap,  lxv.)  But  they  were  already 
so  multiplied  that  if  they  had  been  together  they  would  have  numbered  a  hundred  thou- 
sand men.  And  when  they  were  asked  why  they  acted  so,  they  answered  that  they  did 
not  know,  but  they  vowed  to  make  others  do  the  same,  and  did  it  also.  —(Ibid. ,  chap.  Ixvi. ) 

1350-1364]  ASSASSINATION   OF   MARCEL.  249 

heir  to  the  throne,  and  invited  him  to  return  to  Paris.  He  engaged 
at  the  same  time  to  give  to  him  the  title  of  captain-general,  perhaps 
to  proclaim  him  king.  The  King  of  Navarre,  dazzled,  accepted  the 
offer,  and  it  was  arranged  that,  on  the  night  between  the  31st  of  July 
and  the  1st  of  August,  the  gate  and  bastille  of  Saint-Denis  should  be 
delivered  up  to  him.  But  a  bourgeois  named  Maillard,  a  partisan  of 
the  Dauphin,  had  discovered  the  plot.  Accompanied  by  armed  men, 
he  presented  himself  at  midnight  at  the  gate  Saint-Denis,  took  Marcel 
with  the  keys  in  his  hand,  cried  out  "  Treason  !"  and  slew  him  with  a 
blow  on  the  forehead  from  a  battle-axe.  The  same  blow  struck  all  the 
party  of  the  tribune.     The  death  of  the  famous  prevot 

-...  .       The  assassina- 

smootlied  the  way    tor    the   regent,  who    entered   .Paris   tionof  Marcel, 

.  .  1358. 

as  a  conqueror,  leaning  on  the  shoulder  of  Maillard,  and 
signalized  his  power  by  numerous  executions. 

Meanwhile,  King  John,  weary  of  his  long  captivity,  had  signed  a 
disgraceful  treaty,  which  gave  over  half  of  France  to  England.  This 
treaty  was  rejected  with  one  voice  by  the  regent  and  the  States  of 
1359.  The  Dauphin,  who  had  gained  popularity  by  this  patriotic  act, 
then  declared  that  the  ministers  and  great  officers  proscribed  by  the 
preceding  States  had  never  lost  his  confidence,  and  re-established 
them  in  their  posts.  He  received  some  subsidies,  but  the  people 
could  not  pay,  and  in  order  to  sustain  the  war  against  the 
English — encamped  at  Bourg-la-Reine,  two  leagues  from  Paris — he 
again  altered  the  coinage.  The  celebrated  treaty  of  Bretigny  (near 
to  Chartres)  terminated  at  last  the  hostilities  between  Treat.of 
France  and  England.  Its  principal  articles  declared  that  B^tiguy,  13^o. 
Guienne,  Poitou,  South  Gascony,  Ponthieu,  Calais,  and  some  fiefs, 
should  remain  entirely  in  the  possession  of  the  King  of  England  ;  that 
Edward  should  renounce  his  pretensions  to  the  crown  of  France,  to 
JSTormandy,  Brittany,  Maine,  Touraine  and  Anjou,  possessed  by  his 
ancestors,  and  that  John  should  pay  three  millions  of  gold  crowns  for 
his  ransom.  The  two  sovereigns  confirmed  this  treaty  at  Calais 
in  1360. 

Great  calamities  followed  the  deliverance  of  King  John.  That 
prince,  in  granting  his  daughter  to  Galeas  Yisconti  of  Milan,  had 
caused  him  to  purchase  the  honour  of  his  alliance  for  a  hundred 
thousand  florins.     This  sum  was  useful  to  France  for  the  ransom  of 

250  DEATH   OF   KING  JOHN.  [Book  II.   Chap.  III.. 

the  King,  but  was  far  from  being  sufficient.     The  people  were  laid 
under  arbitrary   taxation,  and   their   misery   increased. 


throughout  the      Numerous  companies  of  adventurers,  always  in  the  pay 

kingdom.  r  . 

of  the  party  who  offered  the  most,  and  without  employ- 
ment in  time  of  peace,  infested  the  plains;  the  fields  remained 
uncultiyated ;  and  famine,  followed  by  a  plague  of  three  years'  dura- 
tion, devastated  the  kingdom. 

In  the  midst  of  so  many  evils  a  happy  circumstance  occurred 
for  France.  John  acquired  Burgundy  by  the  death  of  Philip  de 
Bouvre,*  the  last  duke,  to  whom  he  succeeded,  in  his  capacity  of 
nearest  relative.  But  he  did  not  at  all  understand  the  importance 
of  this  acquisition  in  the  national  interest,  and  hastened  to  detach 
this  beautiful  province  anew  from  his  crown,  giving  it  as  an  apanage 
™.m-  „.-  ™  «      to   his   fourth   son   Philip,  whose   valorous    conduct   at 

Philip  the  Bold,  r7 

^cond  houseof  P°itiers  had  gained  for  him  the  surname  of  the  Bold, 
Burgundy,  1362.  an(j  ^Q  paternal  predilection.  Thus  the  second  house  of 
Burgundy  was  founded,  which  rendered  itself  so  formidable  in  Prance. 
Each  of  the  acts  of  this  King  appears  to  be  marked  with  the  stamp  of 
the  most  deplorable  fatality.  After  so  many  faults,  and  in  the  midst 
of  cries  of  distress  from  the  nation,  he  contemplated  uniting  himself 
with  the  King  of  Cyprus,  who  was  engaged  in  a  new  crusade,  and, 
encouraged  by  the  Pope  Urban  V.,  he  took  up  the  cross  at  Avignon; 
but  he  soon  learned  that  his  son,  the  Duke  of  Anjoa,  had  fled  from 
England,  where  he  had  left  him  as  a  hostage :  from  this  circumstance  he 
experienced  very  great  affliction.  If  guilty  of  complicity  with  his  son, 
the  King  would  have  violated  the  laws  of  chivalry,  which  he  respected 
even  to  a  nicety.  Impatient  to  justify  himself,  he  demanded  a  safe 
_    ..    .  „.         conduct,  obtained  it,  and  returned  to  England,  where  he 

Death  of  King  '  '  o  ' 

John,  1364.  died  in  1364.    Pew  kings,  with  his  estimable  qualities  and 

right  intentions,  have  drawn  down  more  evils  upon  their  people.  The 
following  beautiful  sentiment  has  been  attributed  to  this  prince  : — 
If  good  faith  were  banished  from  the  rest  of  the  ivorld,  it  ought  still  to 
be  found  in  the  hearts  of  Icings ;  a  noble  maxim,  which  would  have 
done  more  honour  to  King  John  if  it  had  always  inspired  his  actions. 

*  This  name  came  to  him  from  the  castle  of  Rouvre,  where  he  was  born.  Philip  de 
Rouvre  was  the  last  descendant  of  Robert,  son  of  Robert  King  of  France,  and  founder 
of  the  first  Capetian  house  of  Burgundy. 

1364-1380]  CHARLES   V.  251 




When  Charles  V.  mounted  the  throne  he  was  twenty-nine  years 
of  age.  He  had  already  governed  France  for  nearly 
eight  years.  Nothing  then  announced  in  him  the 
restorer  of  the  monarchy.  Wot  much  esteemed  by  the  nobility,  on 
account  of  his  unwarlike  qualities  and  his  conduct  at  Poitiers  ;  hated 
by  the  bourgeoisie,  which  he  had  subdued  by  executions  ;  weak  in 
body,  and  of  a  sickly  constitution,  everything  appeared  likely  to 
become  an  obstacle  during  his  reign.  And  yet,  by  his  address  and 
prudence,  more  than  by  great  talent,  he  was  enabled  to  reconquer 
a  large  part  of  the  provinces  which  his  father  had  lost.  He  re-estab- 
lished order  in  the  interior  of  the  kingdom ;  but  all  this  could  only 
be  done  at  the  expense  of  the  authority  of  the  States-  General,  whom 
he  strove  to  annul.  His  principal  merit  consisted  in  the  sagacity  with 
which  he  appreciated  circumstances  and  men,  arranged  useful  alliances, 
seized  always  the  favourable  moment  to  attack  his  enemies,  and 
attached  to  himself  skilful  ministers  and  great  generals,  at  the  head 
of  whom  appeared  Boucicaut,  Olivier  de  Clisson,  and  the  brave  Du 
Guesclin.  He  is  justly  reproached  with  having  neither  respected  the 
rights  of  the  people  nor  the  treaties  with  his  enemies ;  but,  having 
occupied  the  throne  between  two  disastrous  epochs,  he  ought  to  have 
double  credit  for  the  repose  which  France  appeared  to  enjoy  under 
his  reign,  and  posterity  confirmed  the  surname  of  Wise  which  he 
received  from  his  contemporaries. 

Nothing  threw  more  brilliancy  upon  the  reign  of  Charles  V.,  and 
contributed  more  to  his   success,  than  the  illustrious  Ber- 
trand  du  Guesclin.    A  simple  Breton  gentleman,  with  no 
personal  advantages,  accomplishments,  or  fortune,  of  a  mind  so  little 

252  ACCESSION   OF   CHARLES  Y.  [Book  II.   Chap.  IV. 

opened  that  he  could  never  learn  to  read,  he  had  nothing  appa- 
rently of  that  which  announces  a  hero,  except  his  valour.  This  was 
the  man  who,  after  having  fought  obscurely  for  Charles  de  Blois  upon 
the  heaths  of  Brittany,  became  the  first  captain  of  the  age,  whom 
God  seemed  to  have  caused  to  be  born  a  contemporary  of  Charles  V. 
in  order  to  save  France.  "A  strong  soul,"  says  his  historian, 
"  nourished  in  iron,  moulded  under  the  palms,  and  in  which  Mars 
held  school  for  a  long  period."  His  first  exploit  for  Charles  was 
a  victory.  Boucicaut  had  just  taken  by  surprise  the  town  of  Mantes, 
which  belonged  to  the  King  of  Navarre  ;  that  of  Meulan  had  like- 
wise fallen  into  the  hands  of  the  French.  The  Captal  or  Seignior  of 
Buch,  a  brave  Gascon  captain  in  the  service  of  Charles  the  Bad, 
made  arrangements  in  order  to  _  take  his  revenge.  He  united  with 
John  Joel,  an  English  captain,  and,  afc  the  head  of  seven  hundred 
lancers,  three  hundred  archers,  and  five  hundred  foot  soldiers,  he 
awaited  the  French  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Cocherel,  near  Evreux, 
B   u  where  he  arranged  his  troops   on  the  height  of  a  hill, 

Cocherel.  on   j^1Q   "border  of  a  wood.     Bertrand  du   Guesclin  ap- 

proached ;  he  perceived  that  the  Captal  possessed  the  advantage  of 
the  ground ;  but  his  own  soldiers  were  in  want  of  provisions  :  it  was 
necessary  to  give  fight,  and  draw  the  enemy  into  the  plain.  Du 
Guesclin  had  not  his  equal  in  stratagems  of  war ;  he  prepared  an 
ambuscade  and  ordered  a  precipitate  retreat.  John  Joel,  deceived  by 
this  artifice,  rushed  forward,  against  the  orders  of  the  Captal,  to  the 
cry  of  "  Forward,  Saint  George  !  Who  loves  me  follows  me  !  "  The 
Captal  saw  the  peril,  and  followed  John  Joel  to  save  him ;  but  then 
the  French  stopped.  "Forward,  friends!"  cried  Du  Guesclin,  "the 
day  is  ours.  For  God's  sake  remember  that  we  have  a  new  king  in 
France,  and  that  to-day  his  crown  must  be  handselled  by  us !  "  A 
fierce  combat  then  took  place,  and  the  ambuscade  showed  itself;  thirty 
knights  rushed  upon  the  Captal  at  a  gallop  and  took  him  prisoner. 
The  victory  was- vigorously  disputed  :  but  John  Joel  fell,  wounded  to 
death,  and  the  men  of  Navarre,  without  a  chief,  dispersed,  only  a 
small  number  contriving  to  escape.  The  victory  of  Cocherel  placed  in 
submission  to  Charles  Y.  nearly  the  whole  of  Normandy.  He  received 
the  news  at  Reims,  in  the  midst  of  the  fetes  of  his  coronation,  and 
recompensed  Du  Guesclin  by  the  gift  of  the  county  of  Longueville. 

1364-1380]  THE    GREAT   COMPANIES.  253 

The  war  went  on  continuously  in  Brittany  between  the  two  aspi- 
rants, the  son  of  John  de  Montfort  and  of  the   celebrated  Jeanne  de 
Flandres,  allied  with  the  English,  and  Charles  de  Blois,  sustained  by 
France.     The  celebrated  battle  of  Auray,  when  the  latter 
was  slain,  was  soon  followed  by  the  treaty  of  Guerande,   Treaty  of  Gu<$- 

.  _  n  .       rande.  End  of  the 

which  assured  the  duchy  of  Brittany  to  Montfort.      This   war  in  Brittany, 

,;  J  1365. 

treaty,  signed  with   care   by  Charles  V.,  rendered    the 

duchy  reversible  to  the  widow  and  children  of  Charles   de  Blois  in 

case  Montfort  died  without  issue.     Thus  terminated  an  atrocious  war, 

which  had  lasted  twenty- four  years.     The  Duke   of  Montfort,  under 

the  name   of  John  V.,  hastened  to  return  to    Paris,  where  he    did 

homage  to  the  King. 

Charles  V.  found  himself  at  last  at  peace  with  all  his  neighbours. 

His  people  began  to  breathe  again,  and  returned  to  the  work  of  the 

fields,  interrupted  for  so  long  a  period  ;  order  and  peace  existed  once 

more.    But  the  scourge  of  the  companies  of  adventurers   m. 

o  r  The   great  com- 

threatened  to  arrest  this  return  to  a  better  state,  and  to   Pani8S- 

ruin  the  kingdom.  During  this  period,  when  the  caprices  of  princes, 
a  gift,  an  exchange,  or  a  marriage  decided  every  day  the  destiny  of 
the  people,  a  multitude  of  men  considered  themselves  as  belonging  to 
no  country,  and  offered  their  swords  to  any  one  who  sought  their 
services.  The  length  of  the  wars,  which  rendered  their  services 
necessary  to  so  many  princes ;  the  feebleness  of  the  laws,  which  seemed 
to  authorize  all  kinds  of  disorder  and  violence,  had,  during  twenty- 
five  years,  prodigiously  increased  the  number  of  these  greedy  and 
licentious  men.  When  France  was  at  peace,  they  all  remained  without 
employment  and  without  means  of  existence.  They  then  spread 
themselves  like  wild  beasts  over  the  country,  and  there  committed 
frightful  ravages.  The  only  means  of  subduing  them  so  far  had  been 
by  arming  against  them  the  national  militia  of  the  kingdom ;  but 
experience  had  taught  Charles  to  fear  above  all  things  the  influence  of 
the  middle  classes.  He  refused  to  increase  their  number,  and  from 
that  time,  not  being  able  to  exterminate  the  great  companies,  he  was 
compelled  to  employ  them.  For  a  considerable  time  Peter,  King  of 
Castile,  surnamed  the  Cruel,  had  alienated  himself  from  his  family 
and  subjects  by  acts  of  atrocity.  He  had  poisoned  his  wife,  Blanche 
of  Bourbon,  and  ordered  the  murder  of  his  natural  brother,  Henry  of 

245  BATTLE    OF   NAVARETTE.  [Book  II.   CHAP.  IV. 

Transtamare ;  tlie  latter,  in  the  hope  of  punishing  him  and  of  sup- 
planting him  upon  the  throne,  implored  the  assistance  of  Charles  V., 
.^        .    .  and   obtained   it.      Charles    seized   with  eagerness  this 

War  against  ° 

Kin"  o^CaSe1'  occasi°n  0I>  avenging  Blanche,  his  relation,  and  of 
1366-  giving    employment    to    the    great    companies,    whose 

"brigandages  he  feared.  Du  Guesclin  commanded  the  expedition. 
In  charging  him  with  this  difficult  mission,  the  King  embraced  him 
with  all  his  heart.  "Valiant  Bertrand,"  said  he  to  him,  "I  owe 
you  more  than  if  you  had  conquered  a  province  for  me." 

These  terrible  adventurers,  in  passing  near  Avignon,  to  which 
place  the  popes  for  half  a  century  had  transferred  their  residence, 
levied  contributions  on  the  sovereign  Pontiff.  They  afterwards  entered 
Spain,  and  the  troops  of  Peter  disbanded  themselves  before  them. 
That  prince,  repulsed  by  his  subjects,  driven  from  Portugal,  where  he 
sought  a  refuge  with  Peter  the  Justiciary,  as  barbarous  as  himself, 
abandoned  his  throne  to  his  rival,  and  retired  to  the  court  of  the 
Prince  of  Wales,  who  received  him  at  Bordeaux  with  great  honours ; 
and  Henry  took  possession  of  the  crown  of  Castile  without  obstacle. 

But  Peter  solicited  succour  from  the  English,  and  promised 
to  enrich  their  captains ;  and  the  Prince  of  Wales  armed  in  his 
favour  without  breaking  with  France.  The  great  companies,  who 
had  just  established  Transtamare  on  the  throne,  rushed  now  to  the 
side  of  his  brother,  drawn  by  the  appetite  for  gold  which  he  promised 
them.  Du  Guesclin  supported  Transtamare,  but  the  latter  was  con- 
Battie  of  quered  by  the  Prince  of  Wales  at  the  battle  of  Nava- 

rette,  and  Du  Gruesclin  was  made  prisoner.  Peter  the 
Cruel  recovered  his  kingdom,  and  his  brother,  a  fugitive,  sought 
refuge  with  the  Duke  of  Anjou,  eldest  of  the  brothers  of  Charles  V. 
and  commandant  of  Languedoc.  That  prince,  an  enemy  of  the 
English,  received  Transtamare  as,  in  the  preceding  year,  the  Prince 
of  Wales  had  received  Peter  the  Cruel. 

Du  Gruesclin  was  only  able  to  recover  his  liberty  by  defying  the 
English  prince  to  grant  it  to  him.  He  himself  fixed  his  ransom  at  a 
hundred  thousand  gold  florins,  and  when  the  prince  asked  him  how 
a  poor  knight  could  find  such  a  sum :  "  The  Kings  of  France  and 
Castile  will  pay  it,"  answered  Bertrand;  "and  there  are  a  hundred 
Breton  knights   who  would  sell  their  lands  to  make  up   that  sum; 

1364-1380]  BATTLE    OF   MONTIEL.  255 

and  the  girls  who  spin,  in  my  country,  would  make  more  than  my 
ransom  with  their  distaffs  rather  than  that  I  should  be  left  prisoner !" 
The  Princess  of  Wales  contributed  twenty  thousand  livres  on  the  spot, 
and  the  brave  Chandos,  rival  of  Du  Guesclin,  offered  his  purse  to 
deliver  him.  Freed  on  parole,  Du  Guesclin  departed  in  order  to 
gather  together  his  ransom.  He  returned  with  it ;  but  whilst  on  the 
road  he  met  ten  poor  knights,  who  had  great  difficulty  in  finding 
their  ransoms.  He  gave  them  all,  and  arrived  at  Bordeaux  with 
empty  hands  to  retake  his  place  in  prison.  Charles  V.  paid  his 
ransom  and  set  him  at  liberty.  He  then  sent  him  anew  into  Spain, 
at  the  head  of  his  army ;  and  Du  Guesclin,  conqueror  Battle  of 
at  the  battle  of  Montiel,  replaced  Transtamare,  for  a 
second  time,  upon  the  throne  of  Castile.  Peter  the  Cruel  was  made 
prisoner.  On  recognizing  each  other,  the  two  rival  brothers  threw 
themselves  with  rage  upon  one  another,  and  Peter  died,  stabbed  by 
the  hand  of  Henry,  in  the  tent  of  Du  Guesclin. 

At  this  period  Charles  contemplated  the  recovery  of  those  provinces 
which  had  been  ceded  to  the  English  by  his  father ;  and  saw  with  joy 
Edward  III.  enervated,  more  by  pleasures  than  by  age,  and  his  illus- 
trious son,  the  Black  Prince,  the  conqueror  of  Cressy,  of  Poitiers,  and 
of  Navarette,  attacked  by  a  wasting  disease  the  symptoms  of  which 
were  mortal.  He  deceived  the  English  monarch  by  demonstrations  of 
friendship,  and  fomented  revolt  in  all  the  provinces  given  over  to 
England  by  the  treaty  of  Bretigny.  The  English  treated  the  in- 
habitants of  these  countries  more  as  vanquished  people  than  as 
brothers  and  fellow-citizens.  Hence  arose  amongst  them  an  ardent 
desire  to  be  restored  to  France. 

Charles  profited  by  these  inclinations,  and  attached  to  himself  the 
most  influential  nobles.    A  rising  broke  out  in  Gascony  on   Rising  0f  the 
the  occasion  of  a  hearth- tax,  an  imposition  established  by   th^E  "gifshTnS 


the  English  prince  upon  each  fire.  The  Gascons  claimed 
that,  up  to  that  time,  they  had  been  free  from  all  taxes,  and  appealed 
to  the  King  of  France,  as  sovereign  of  Guienne  and  of  Gascony. 
Charles  V.,  in  contempt  of  the  treaty  of  Bretigny,  which  granted 
these  provinces  in  complete  sovereignty  to  Edward,  received  their 
appeal,  and  caused  the  Black  Prince  to  be  summoned  before  the 
Chamber  of  Peers,  as  his    subject.      He  believed  he  was  powerful 

256  WAR  WITH   ENGLAND  RENEWED.  [Book  II.  Chap.  IV. 

enough  at  the  same  time  to  venture  upon  some  acts  of  popularity 
without  compromising  his  power.  He  dared  to  convoke  the  States, 
states-General,      an(l  pretended  to  consult  them,  being  assured  beforehand 


that  he  would  find  them  docile.  They  assembled  in 
1369,  and  approved  of  all  the  acts  of  his  reign  without  restriction. 
He  prosecuted  his  designs  against  England  ;  he  increased  the  privi- 
leges of  the  revolted  towns,*  which  gave  themselves  up  to  France ; 
and  the  clergy,  won  over  by  him,  raised  the  people  in  his  favour. 
Lastly,  when  he  had  arranged  everything  for  success,  the  Court  of 
Peers  issued,  in  1370,  a  decision  declaring  that,  in  default  of  having 
Decision  of  the  appeared  before  it,  Edward  was  deprived  of  his  rights 
Stast  Edward  w^n  regard  to  Aquitaine  and  his  other  possessions  in 
in.,  1379.  France,  and  it  confiscated   them  to   the    profit    of    the 

crown.  A  scullion  was  entrusted  to  carry  this  sentence  to  the 
English  monarch,  who,  seized  with  indignation,  prepared  for  war. 

Charles  V.  strengthened  his  position  with  Scotland  and  Spain.     A 
„  Castilian    fleet,    victorious   over    the    English    fleet    at 

Recommence-  '  & 

™eTwithh0stlll~  Rochelle,  opened  for  him  Poitou ;  the  Constable  Du 
England,  1370.  Gruesclin  subdued  this  province  to  France.  The  Duke 
of  Brittany,  Montfort,  was  from  his  heart  devoted  to  the  English, 
who  had  restored  to  him  his  duchy :  he  allied  himself  with  Edward. 
But  Charles  knew  how  to  manage  the  friendship  of  the  Breton  nobles. 
Two  of  their  number,  Olivier  de  Clisson  and  Du  G-uesclin,  enjoyed  his 
highest  favour ;  they  gained  over  for  Charles  the  hearts  of  their  com- 
patriots, and  the  duke  was  expelled  from  his  duchy,  which  allied  itself 
with  France  against  England.  Edward,  however,  assembled  together 
a  powerful  army ;  it  disembarked  at  Calais,  under  the  command  of 
the  Duke  of  Lancaster.  Charles  V.,  still  struck  with  the  recollec- 
tion of  Cressy  and  Poitiers,  ordered  his  generals  to  watch  the 
enemy,  to  impede  his  movements,  and  to  decline  to  give  battle.  His 
orders  were  obeyed.  Lancaster  encamped  before  Paris,  and  an 
English    knisrht    planted    with    impunity   his   lance  in 

New  system  of  °  or  r  j 

warfare.  ^he  gates  of  Saint  Jacques.     French  valour,  restrained 

*  Royal  decrees  of  1370.  Letters  declaring  that  the  inhabitants  of  Rodez  should 
he  able  to  transact  business  throughout  the  kingdom,  without  paying  any  rates  for 
merchandise  which  they  purchased  (February,  1370);  letters  declaring  that  the  town 
of  Milhaud  should  be  exempt  from  taxes  for  twenty  years  ;  and  an  order  granting 
privileges  to  the  town  of  Tulle  (May,  1370),  &c.  &c. 

1364-1380]  TRUCE    BETWEEN   ENGLAND   AND    FRANCE.  257 

by  the  prudence  of  the  monarch,  bore  the  insulting  provoca- 
tions of  the  enemy  from  Calais  as  far  as  Guienne,  where  their  army 
arrived  exhausted  and  almost  destroyed  by  disease,  fatigue,  and 
scarcity  of  provisions.  The  fortune  of  England  tottered :  its  hero, 
the  Prince  of  Wales,  whose  last  and  sad  exploit  was  the  sack  of 
Limoges,  was  just  dead ;  Edward  III.  himself  was  drawing  near  to 
the  tomb,  and  was  about  to  abandon  his  sceptre  to  the  hands  of  an 
infant.  His  fleet  had  been  conquered  at  Rochelle  ;  his  powerful  army 
had  consumed  itself;  already  the  fruits  of  the  victory  of  Poitiers 
were  lost  to  him,  and  France  had  recovered  nearly  all  its  provinces. 
The  old  King,  so  formidable  in  times  of  old,  and  now  so  humiliated, 
signed  a  truce  with  Charles  V.,  and  shortly  afterwards  Truce  of  B 
died  in  the  arms  of  a  courtesan,  leaving  the  throne  to  England  and 
his  grandson,  the  unfortunate  Richard  II.  France,  1375. 

Freed  from  his  most  dangerous  enemy,  Charles  abandoned  himself 
to  his  revenge  against  his  brother-in-law,  Charles  the  Bad,  then  in 
Spain,  where  he   meditated  an  alliance  with  England. 

r        '  °  Vengeance  of 

He  compelled  the  son  of  that  prince,  who  had  come  CharlesV- 
without  distrust  to  his  court,  to  sign  an  order  which  gave  over  to  the 
French  all  the  places  possessed  by  his  father  in  Normandy.  He 
caused  also  De  Rue  and  Du  Tertre  to  be  arrested,  the  one  chamberlain 
of  the  King  of  Navarre,  and  the  other  governor  of  one  of  his  places, 
and  both  intimate  friends  of  their  master.  They  were  given  over  to 
an  extraordinary  commission,  and  summoned  to  confess  that  their 
prince  was  guilty  of  atrocious  crimes,  and,  among  others,  of  an 
attempt  to  poison  Charles.  They  repelled  these  horrible  accusations, 
but  this  did  not  prevent  them  from  being  condemned  to  death  and 
executed  as  accomplices  of  these  crimes,  in  order  to  give  a  ground  to 
the  suspicions  which  Charles  V.  wished  to  bring  to  bear  upon  his 
brother-in-law.  Bernay,  Evreux,  Pont-Audemer,  Avranches,  Mor- 
tain,  Valognes,  opened  their  gates,  and  in  Normandy  the  town  of 
Cherbourg  alone  belonged  to  the  King  of  Navarre. 

This  point  seems  to  give  us  an  opportunity  for  stopping  a-  moment 
to  glance  at  the  politics  of  Charles  V.     Arriving,  as  he 
did,    at   royalty   under  the   most   unfavourable   circum-    charles"V. 
stances,  burdened  with  an  enormous  debt  to  pay  to  foreigners,  without 
a  treasury,  without  an  army,  he  had  seen  Irs  subjects  diminish  to  one- 


258  THE    POLICY   OF   CHAELES.  [BOOK  II.   Chap.  IV. 

half  in  number,  by  war,  by  famine,  by  pestilence,  and  despoiled  by 
bands  of  brigands,  masters  of  the  kingdom.  Nevertheless,  in  the 
course  of  years,  he  had  succeeded  in  retaking  from  the  English 
Ponthieu,  Quercy,  Limousin,  Rouergue,  Saintonge,  Angoumois,. 
and  Poitou.  He  had  engaged  the  vassals  of  Upper  Grascony  to  give 
themselves  over  to  him,  expelled  the  Duke  of  Brittany 

His  policy. 

from  his  duchy,  and  the  King  of  Navarre  from  nearly 
all  his  Norman  possessions.  Skilful  also  in  exterior  politics,  he  had 
favoured  in  Castile  a  revolution  which,  in  assisting  him  to  get  rid  of 
the  pest  of  the  great  companies,  promised  to  him  a  grateful  ally. 
He  attached  Flanders  to  France,  by  assuring,  through  a  marriage 
with  his  brother,  Philip  of  Burgundy,  the  succession  of  that 
country ;  he  carefully  preserved  the  friendship  of  John  Graleas 
Visconti,  his  brother-in-law,  master  of  Lombardy,  and  that  of  the 
Emperor  Charles  IV. ;  whilst  he  held  the  Pope  under  his  subjection  at 
Avignon.  The  companies  of  adventurers  had  disappeared  from  the 
kingdom,  the  roads  had  become  safe,  order  was  re-esfcablished,  royal 
authority  was  exercised  without  obstacle,  and  in  all  parts,  at  last, 
subjects  who  had  been  detached  from  the  monarchy  by  a  humiliating 
treaty,  left  the  foreign  yoke  to  become  once  more  Frenchmen. 

Charles  had  gathered  round  him,  in  order  to  assist  in  accomplish- 
ing these  happy  changes,  men  little  elevated  by  their 

Principal  .  . 

ministers  of  that   birth,  but  by  superior  merit.     Amongst  them  must  be 


mentioned  Guillaume  and  Michel  de  Dormans,  Philip 
de  Savoisy,  and  Bureau  de  la  Riviere.  These  men  had  all  his  con- 
fidence ;  they  were  his  ministers,  and  not  his  favourites :  whilst  he 
took  advantage  of  their  counsels  he  always  remained  their  master.* 
He  ceased  to  alter  the  money,  and  did  not  oppress  the  people 
with  taxes,  substituting  for  the  taille,  or  land-tax  upon  villeins,  the 
indirect  tax  of  the  aides,  which  had  for  its  particular  object  the 
taxation  of  both  bourgeois  and  noble. 

This  wise  conduct  ought  to  be  attributed  equally  to  his  solicitude 
for  his  subjects  and  the  fear  with  which  they  inspired  him.  Never 
did  he  forget  that  the  people  had  made  him  tremble  when  he  was 
only  Dauphin  ;  and  he  rarely  pardoned  an-  offence.    However,  he  knew 

*  For  this  reason,  Freret  is  reported  to  have  said  of  him,  "  Never  L  prince  received 
so  many  counsels,  and  allowed  himself  to  be  less  governed." 

1364-1380]  DEATH   OF   POPE    GREGORY  XI.  259 

liow  to  put  off  chastisement,  and  he  was,  according  to  circumstances, 
master  of  his  pity  and  likewise  of  his  anger.  When  the  English  armies 
laid  waste  the  country  and  burnt  the  villages  under  his  eyes,  no  sign 
of  pity  escaped  from  him  ;  and  Froissart,  the  historian  of  the  period, 
narrates  that  in  all  these  conflagrations  he  could  only  see  smoke, 
which  could  not  drive  him  from  his  inheritance.  In  his  connection 
with  the  people,  lastly,  his  principal  aim  seems  to  have  been  to  compel 
them  to  submit  to  the  sovereign  will,  without  hearing  a  murmur,  and 
without  experiencing  any  resistance.  He  only  once  convoked  the 
States- General  during  his  reign,  and  substituted  for  them  assemblies 
of  the  most  considerable  inhabitants,  where  he  only  admitted 
members  of  the  Parliament  and  of  the  university,  some  prelates,  and 
his  great  officers  of  state.  The  political  power  of  the  Third  Estate 
found  itself  enfeebled;  but  at  the  same  time  Charles  V.,  jealous  of 
keeping  the  balance  between  the  different  classes  of  the  nation, 
despoiled  the  nobles  of  many  of  their  privileges.  A  Celebrated 
decree  of  1372  exclusively  reserved  to  the  crown  the  decree  of  1372- 
right  of  granting  charters  to  the  municipalities,  and  of  letters  of  en- 
noblement to  private  individuals. 

It  was  from  the  interior  of  his  palace  that  he  mysteriously  directed 
all  these  intrigues.  Prudence  had  always  directed  his  policy ;  and  that 
which  was  the  particular  aim  which  he  proposed  to  himself  in  all 
his  acts,  that  which  he  strove  to  reach,  was  the  only  one  which  was 
then  suited  to  the  true  interests  of  France.  The  end  of  this  reign 
was  not  free  from  storms.  Charles  saw  awakening  round  him  in 
all  directions  symptoms  of  that  fermentation,  of  that  liberal  tendency 
in  men's  minds,  which  he  had  taken  such  great  care  to  suppress. 
Sectarians,  known  under  the  name  of  Beguins  or  Turlupins,  multi- 
plied in  his  states :  he  allowed  a  large  number  of  these  unfortunates 
to  be  burnt  alive  ;  but  the  executions  could  not  restrain  the  flight  of 
human  reason.  ISTew  sects  were  formed,  and  the  great  Schism  of  the 
East  stimulated  throughout  Europe  the  spirit  of  doubt  and  of  inquiry. 

Gregory  XI.  died  in  1378  at  Rome,  and  the  College  of  Cardinals 
gave  him  for  a  successor  Bartholomew  Prognagni,  who  took  the  name 
of  Urban  VI.  The  violent  conduct  of  the  new  Pope  soon  alienated 
from  him  those  who  had  crowned  him ;  threatened  by  him,  they  all 

s  2 

260  GEEAT    SCHISM    OF    THE    EAST.  [BOOK  II.    Chap.  IV. 

declared  that  his  election  was  illegal ;  they  chose  Robert  of  Geneva, 
who  took  the  name  of  Clement  VII.,  and  went  to  take  up  his  resi- 
dence at  Avignon.  Such  was  the  origin  of  the  famous  Schism  of  the 
Great  Schism  of  East.  Europe  divided  itself  between  the  two  popes, 
the  East,  13/9.  each  kingdom  following  its  own  political  interests. 
Charles  V.  declared  himself  for  Clement,  who  resided  in  France  ;  his 
allies,  the  sovereigns  of  Naples,  of  Castile,  and  Aragon,  followed  his 
example.  The  party  of  Urban  VI.  was  embraced  by  England,  by 
Bohemia,  Hungary,  Portugal,  and  Flanders.  Charles,  in  declaring  for 
one  who  was  hereafter  to  be  declared  anti-pope,  opened  up,  in  spite 
of  himself,  new  views  to  the  independence  of  human  reason  and 

The  symptoms  of  agitation  thus  visibly  arising  were  not  the 
only  alarming  movements  which  he  saw  in  his  latter  years.  Con- 
queror of  the  English  without  having  fought  them,  he  thought 
r,    a     l-^   c      himself  master  enough  over  the  minds  of  the  Bretons 

Confiscation  of  ° 

Brittany7  Revolt  ^°  confiscate  their  province  and  to  unite  it  to  his 
of  the  Bretons.  domain#  He  deceived  himself.  The  Duke  John  V., 
summoned  by  his  order  before  the  court  of  the  Parliament,  was 
judged  by  it  before  his  summons  was  notified  to  him  in  Flanders, 
where  he  resided,  and  condemned  without  being  heard,  as  being 
guilty  of  an  alliance  with  England  against  his  sovereign.  He  was 
declared  deprived  of  his  titles  in  Brittany,  and  the  Parliament  confis- 
cated his  duchy  in  contempt  of  the  rights  of  the  widow  and 
children  of  Charles  de  Blois,  expressly  reserved  in  the  treaty  of 
Guerande.  Charles  Y.  did  not  gather  any  fruit  from  this  unjust  act. 
The  inhabitants  of  that  country,  jealous  of  their  national  independence, 
arose  in  a  body,  recalled  their  duke,  and  welcomed  him  as  their 
liberator ;  the  brave  Breton  captains  left  the  royal  army  ;  Du  Guesclin, 
always  faithful  to  the  King,  disapproved  of  his  course,  and  became 
suspicious  of  him  :  his  noble  pride  made  him  indignant.  It  is  said 
that  he  wished  to  give  up  his  Constable's  sword,  and  was  anxious  to 
retire  to  Spain,  in  order  to  die  there  ;  but,  before  leaving  the  standard 
of  Charles,  he  went  to  rejoin  the  Marshal  de  Sancerre,  his  friend,  and 
one  of  the  most  illustrious  warriors  of  the  age,  before  the  little  place 
of  Chateau-Randon,  in  Grevaudan,  which  he  was  then  besieging.     He 

1364-1380]  DEATH    OF   DU    GUESCLIN.  261 

was  attacked  by  a  fatal  malady.     Feeling  that  death  was  approaching, 
he  raised  himself  upon  his  conch,  and  taking  in  his  vic- 

r^  -i-ii-iT  Illness  and 

torious  hands  the  sword  of  the  Constable,  he  looked  upon   death  of  Du 

Guesclin,  1380. 

it  in  silence,  with  tears  in  his  eyes.  "  It  has  aided 
me,"  said  he,  "to  conquer  the  enemies  of  my  King,  but  it  has  given 
me  cruel  enemies  near  him."  Then,  turning  towards  Sancerre,  "I 
deliver  it  over  to  you,"  continued  he ;  "  and  I  protest  that  I  have 
never  betrayed  the  honour  that  the  King  did  me  when  he  entrusted  it 
to  me."  He  bowed  his  head,  kissed  his  noble  sword,  and  said  to  the 
old  captains  who  surrounded  him,  "Forget  not,  in  whatever  land 
you  may  be  engaged  in  war,  that  people  of  the  Church,  women,  and 
children,  are  not  your  enemies."  Upon  the  point  of  death,  he 
dictated  these  words  for  Olivier  de  Clisson,  his  companion  in  arms. 
"My  Lord  Olivier,  I  feel  that  death  approaches  closely,  and  cannot 
say  many  things  to  you.  You  will  say  to  the  King  that  I  am  greatly 
grieved  that  I  cannot  serve  him  longer,  and  that,  if  Grod  had  granted 
me  the  time,  I  had  good  hope  of  clearing  his  kingdom  of  his  Eng- 
lish enemies.  He  has  goods  ervants,  who  will  exert  themselves  as 
much  as  I  have  done,  especially  you,  my  Lord  Olivier,  the  first  before 
all.  I  pray  you  deliver  to  the  King  the  sword  of  the  Constable  ;  he  will 
know  well  how  to  dispose  of  it,  and  make  choice  of  a  person  worthy 
of  it.  I  commend  to  him  my  wife  and  my  brother.  Adieu  !  I  am  not 
able  to  do  more."  The  garrison  of  Randon  had  promised  to  give 
up  the  town  if  it  were  not  succoured,  and,  faithful  to  its  word, 
it  deposited  the  keys  of  the  town  upon  the  coffin  of  the  great 

Charles  persevered  in  his  objects    of   usurpation ;    but  his  troops 
were  driven  from  Brittany,  and  he  met  everywhere  with 

Reverses  of 

the  same  unanimity  against  himself  which  a  short  time   diaries  v.  in 

J      °  Brittany. 

ago  had  been  shown  in  his  favour  against  the  English. 

Louis,    Count  of  Flanders,  also   solicited  assistance  at  the  same  time 

against  his  revolted   subjects.     A  formidable  rising  also   „.  .      ,  , 

°  J  o  Rising  of  La>i- 

broke    out   in   Languedoc,  where   the   Duke    of   Anjou,    £uedoc« 
brother  of  the  King,  crushed  the  people  by  an  intolerable  oppression, 
Charles- was  compelled  to  recall  his  brother,  and  took  his  government 
from  him.     He,  lastly,  saw  the   King  of  Navarre  give  up  Cherbourg 
to  the    English,   and   a  new  English   army  fall   upon  the   kingdom. 

262  DEATH   OF   CHARLES   V.  [Book  II.  Chap.  IV. 

He  ordered  that  it  should  be  received  in  the  same  manner  as  that 
Death  of  Charles  wn^cn  preceded  it.  In  the  meanwhile,  he  died  at  his 
v.,  1380.  Castle  of  Beauty,  on  the  Marne.     His  death  was  that  of 

a  Christian  and  of  a  monarch  who  had  been  long  tried  by  the  hard- 
ships of  fortune.  He  assembled  round  him  the  prelates,  the  barons, 
and  the  members  of  his  council,  and  addressed  them  on  the  different 
acts  of  his  policy  in  a  touching  discourse,  full  of  wisdom.  Then  he 
requested  them  to  bring  the  crown  of  thorns  of  the  Saviour,  which 
they  then  believed  that  they  possessed  at  Paris  among  a  number  of 
sacred  relics.  It  was  placed  on  high  before  him,  and  he  prayed  for 
a  long  time,  fixing  his  eyes  upon  it.  Afterwards,  having  caused  his 
perishable  crown — that  used  at  the  coronation  of  the  kings — to  be 
placed  at  his  feet,  he  said,  "  O  orown  of  France,  that  art  precious  and 
vile  at  the  same  time — precious,  as  the  symbol  of  justice  ;  but  vile,  and 
most  vile  of  all  things,  when  we  consider  the  labour,  the  anguish,  the 
perils  of  the  soul,  the  pains  of  the  heart,  the  conscience,  and  the 
body,  which  thou  castest  upon  those  which  bear  thee — those  who 
know  all  these  things  would  rather  leave  thee  lying  in  the  mud  than 
raise  thee  in  order  to  place  thee  on  their  heads!"  Afterwards,  having 
received  the  extreme  unction,  the  King  ordered  that  the  doors  should 
be  opened  to  his  officers  and  to  the  people,  and  said,  "  I  know  that 
in  the  government  of  my  kingdom  I  have  given  many  causes  of 
offence;  for  that  I  pray  you  accord  me  mercy:  pardon  me."*  He 
then  raised  his  arms,  and  stretched  out  his  hands  over  all,  in  the 
midst  of  sighs  and  tears.  He  gave  his  blessing  to  his  eldest  son,  the 
Dauphin,  then  eleven  years  old ;  and  whilst  they  read  the  Passion  of 
the  Saviour,  from  the  Grospel  of  Saint  John,  he  expired  in  the  arms 
of  the  Lord  of  La  Riviere,  whom  he  tenderly  loved,  on  the  26th  of 
September,  1380,  at  the  age  of  forty-four  years.  He  had  scarcely 
closed  his  eyes  when  his  nearest  relatives  gave  vent  to  the  evil 
passions  which  they  had  restrained  during  his  life.  The  eldest  of  his 
brothers  and  one  of  the  tutors  of  his  son,  the  avaricious  and  fierce 
Duke  of  Anjou,  rushed  into  his  chamber,  seized  his  jewels,  and 
pillaged  the  palace.  The  new  reign  commenced  under  these 
darkening  auspices. 

*   Livre  des  Faicts  et  bonnes  Mceurs  du  sage  Hoy  Charles   V.    Par  Christine  de 

1364-1380]  LITERATURE   AND    SCIENCE.  263 

The  arts  and  sciences  were  still  very  slightly  cultivated  in  France 
during  the   reigns  of   John   and  Charles  V.  ;   while  at 

•  .  .  General  observa- 

the  same  time  they  began  to  nourish   in  Italy,  where  tions.  Literature 

and  science. 

Dante   and   Petrarch  were  then  famous.      The   French 
nobles  gave  themselves  up  entirely  to  warlike  exercises,  and  had  the 
most  profound  contempt  for  men  of  intellect ;   the  most  celebrated 
captains  could  only  sign  their  names  with  difficulty,  and  Du  Guesclin 
could  not  read.     The  principal  works  of  antiquity,  however,  began  to 
be  known ;  already  there  were  several  translations   of  Titus  Livius, 
.Sallust,  and  of  Caesar.     The  historian  Froissart  lived, 
and  his   simple   and  picturesque  chronicle  is  one  of  the 
most  precious  monuments   of  modern  history.      Charles  "V.,  one   of 
the  most  educated  men  of    his   time,    may  be   looked  upon  as   the 
founder  of  the   Bibliotheque  Boyale.     His   father  had  only  left  him 
twenty  volumes  ;   he  collected  together  nine  hundred,  a  prodigious 
number  for  the  period.     The  greater  part  were  books  on  theology, 
canon  law,  and  astrology,  the  only  sciences  which  were  then  studied. 

From  the  thirteenth  century,  clocks  with  wheels,  spectacles,  paper, 
earthenware,  and  crystal  mirrors  were  known  in  Italy.  The  towns 
of  that  beautiful  country,  and  also  those  of  Flanders,  possessed 
manufactures  and  enriched  themselves  by  commerce,  whilst  war 
was  almost  the  only  occupation  of  the  French.  Gunpowder,  which 
was  frequently  used  in  sieges,  was  despised  in  battles.  The  nobles 
did  not  care  to  favour  the  use  of  an  arm  which,  in  neutralizing  in- 
dividual force,  must  contribute  to  the  levelling  of  the  ranks. 

The  studies  of  the  universities  only  taught  the  art  of  sustaining 
the  vain  disputes  of  scholastic  theology.  Careful  to  repulse  every- 
thing that  could  encroach  upon  the  authority  of  the  Church,  ihe 
popes  interdicted  in  the  universities  the  study  of  civil  law,  and  only 
tolerated  that  of  canon  law.  They  still  often  decided  the  destinies  of 
empires  ;  it  was  thus  that  Urban  V.,  in  granting  permission  to  Philip 
the  Bold,  Duke  of  Burgundy,  to  marry  Marguerite  of  Flanders,  the 
licence  for  which  he  had  refused  to  the  son  of  Edward  III.,  firmly 
assured  to  the  house  of  France  the  inheritance  of  that  powerful  count. 
The  same  Pope  was  again  taken  as  arbiter  by  Charles  V.  and  Charles 
the  Bad,  on  the  subject  of  their  pretensions  to  Burgundy ;  and  later, 
Gregory  XI.  caused  his  mediation  to  be  accepted  between  the  Kings  of 

264  ROYAL   ORDINANCES.  [Book  II.  Chap.  IV. 

France  and  England.  The  former,  agreeing  with  the  popes  in  their  de- 
signs against  progress  and  the  spirit  of  independence,  resisted  them  at 
all  times  when  the  rights  that  they  arrogated  to  themselves  encroached 
npon  those  which  he  himself  believed  that  he  possessed,  and  he  dared 
to  take  the  title  of  King  before  his  coronation.  One  of  the  ordinances 
Ro  ai  ordi-  which  does  most  honour  to  his  memory  is  that  by  which 

nances.  j^  arme(j  justice  against  his  own  authority.     He  forbade 

Parliament  to  modify  or  to  suspend  its  judgments  in  virtue  of  any 
order  sealed  with  the  royal  seal.  He  had  already  made  the  Parlia- 
ment permanent,  which,  until  then,  only  assembled  twice  in  the  year? 
at  Paques  and  Toussaint,  and  had  established  it  in  the  ancient  Palace 
of  the  Kings,  in  the  city  of  Paris.  Another  ordinance,  equally  cele- 
brated, was  issued  by  this  prince.  In  order  to  shorten  the  stormy 
time  which  he  foresaw  would  occur  during  the  minority  of  his  suc- 
cessor, he  fixed  the  majority  of  the  kings  at  fourteen  years.  This 
dangerous  innovation  was  too  often  fatal  to  France. 

1380-1422]  SITUATION   OF   FEANCE.  265 




The  disasters  of  tlie  last  wars  Had  cut  down  tlie  first  nobility  of  the 
kingdom :     after   the     defeats    of    Cressv  and  Poitiers,    _..    .. 

°  J  '     Situation  of 

amongst  the  great  vassals  of  France  there  only  remained  France- 
the  Dukes  of  Brittany  and  Burgundy*  who  lived  in  such  state  that 
they  could  hold  up  their  heads  with  the  monarch ;  the  royal  family 
had  profited  by  the  decline  of  the  others.  Nevertheless,  in  spite  of  so 
many  blows  aimed  at  the  high  feudal  aristocracy,  the  spirit  of  feudality 
existed  still  in  its  strength,  and  at  the  side  of  the  monarch  arose  a 
new  aristocracy,  as  formidable  to  the  throne  ;  it  consisted  of  princes 
of  the  royal  family.  They  had  received  in  apanage  the  states  which 
the  kings  ought  to  have  united  to  their  domains,  and  for  the  most 
part  they  governed  with  harshness  the  people  who  were  intrusted  to 
their  care. 

From  the  end  of  the  last  reign  insurrections  had  broken  out  in 
many  parts  of  the  kingdom  and  in  the  states  feudally  . 

obedient  to  the   crown  of  France.      This   agitation  soon    and  anarchv- 
became    general.       The   people    suffered,   crushed   and    despoiled   by 
avaricious   tyrants,  and   formidable   insurrections  were    quenched  in 

*  The  duchy  of  Burgundy,  properly  speaking,  in  1363,  at  the  accession  of  the  house 
of  Valois,  only  comprised  the  towns  of  Dijon,  Beaune,  Auxonne  and  Chatillon,  with 
their  territories.  By  his  marriage  with  Marguerite  of  Flanders,  heiress  of  Count 
Louis  II.,  Philip  the  Bold  received  in  1384  the  counties  of  Flanders,  Artois, 
Rhetel,  Nevers,  and  Burgundy  (free  county).  The  vast  possessions  of  this  house  were 
extended  still  further  under  Charles  VII.  It  acquired  hy  the  treaty  of  Arras  (1435), 
in  the  east  of  France,  the  counties  of  Macon  and  Auxerre,  and  the  seigniory  of  Bar  ; 
to  the  north  the  counties  of  Guignes  and  Ponthieu.  It  finally  gained  by  succession,  by 
marriages,  and  by  purchase,  Hainaut,  Brabant,  Limbourg,  Luxembourg,  the  counties  of 
Frise,  of  Zealand,  of  Holland,  the  towns  of  Antwerp  and  Malines,  and  the  duchy  of 
Gueldre.  (See  Hisloire  des  Dues  de  Bourgogne  de  la  Maison  de  Valois,  by  Baron  de 

%66  ACCESSION   OF   CHAELES   YI.  [Book  II.  Chap.  V. 

streams  of  blood.  A  deep  exasperation  existed  between  the  nobility 
and  the  inferior  classes  ;  but  the  struggle  was  not  equal  :  the 
nobles  knew  how  to  unite  together,  to  bear  down  in  a  body  on 
their  isolated  enemies,  and  to  strike  them  separately.  The  barbarity 
and  the  superstition  of  the  people  arrested  all  their  efforts  to  obtain  a 
better  destiny,  and,  when  a  stroke  of  fortune  threw  the  power  for 
a  moment  into  their  hands,  they  could  not  make  a  better  use  of  it 
than  their  noble  oppressors.  So  many  causes  of  dissolution,  united 
together,  plunged  France  into  frightful  anarchy,  and  made  the  reign 
of  Charles  "VI.  the  most  disastrous  period  in  French  his- 

Sad  state  of  L 

Europe.  tory.    At  the  moment  when  this  King,  a  minor,  mounted 

his  throne,  England,  submissive  to  Richard  II.,  bore  also  the  evils 
of  a  minority :  the  empire  of  Germany  had  for  a  chief,  in  Venceslas, 
son  of  Charles  IV.,  a  prince  brutified  by  intemperance  ;  Charles  the 
Bad  reigned  in  Navarre ;  Jeanne  I.,  murderess  of  her  husband, 
governed  Naples,  and  two  candidates  for  the  papacy,  Urban  VI.  and 
Clement  VII.,  shook  the  Christian  world  by  discharging  at  each 
other  mutual  anathemas.  All  the  people  suffered  from  frightful  cala- 
mities ;  but  none  of  them  were  more  crushed  than  the  French  people. 
Charles  VI.  had  arrived  at  the  age  of  eleven  years  and  some 
.        .       .        months   when    his    father   died.      His    three    paternal 

Accession  of  * 

CnariesVL,  1380.  u^]^  the  Dukes  of  Anjou,  Berry,  and  Burgundy,  and 
his  maternal  uncle,  the  Duke  of  Bourbon,  disputed  among  themselves 
concerning  his  guardianship  and  the  regency.  They  agreed  to  eman- 
cipate the  young  King  immediately  after  his  coronation,  which  was  to 
take  place  during  the  year,  and  the  regency  was  to  remain  until  that 
period  in  the  hands  of  the  eldest,  the  Duke  of  Anjou,  the  same  who, 
given  by  his  father  as  a  hostage,  fled  from  England,  and  whose 
first  act  was  to  appropriate  the  treasure  amassed  by  the  late  King. 
Nature  had  endowed  Charles  VI.  with  amiable  qualities  ;  he  was  bene- 
volent and  full  of  grace  and  affability.  His  uncles  vied  with  each  other 
in  stifling  this  happy  disposition  ;  they  were  bent  on  persuading  him 
that  the  most  glorious  triumphs  for  a  King  are  those  which  he  gains 
over  his  own  subjects.  A  wise  administration  could  have  closed  the 
wounds  of  the  people.  The  English  army  conducted  into  Brittany 
by  Buckingham  was  dissolved,  and  the  sixteen  millions  left  by 
Charles  V.  would  have  been  more  than  sufficient  to  free  France  from 

1380-1422]  NEW   TAXES.  267 

tlie  foreigners.  But  the  Duke  of  Anjou,  adopted  by  Jeanne  of  Naples 
as  her  successor,*  and  impatient  to  be  seated  on  her  throne,  had 
received  this  treasure  to  defray  the  expenses  of  an  expedition  against 
Charles  de  Duras,  his  rival.  He  soon  raised  a  numerous  army ;  it 
perished  in  Italy,  mowed  down  by  privations,  fatigue,  and  disease, 
and  he  himself  died  miserably  in  the  country  which  he  had  come  to 

The  beginning  of  this  reign  was  signalized  by  popular  movements. 
A  report  had  spread  about  that  the  late  King  on  his  deathbed  had 
decreed  the  abolition  of  all  the  taxes,  and,  according  to  the 
chronicle  of  Saint-Denis,  each  one  throughout  the  kingdom  of  France 
ardently  desired  liberty,  and  thought  only  of  shaking  off  the  yoke  of 
the  taxes.  Fearing  an  insurrection,  the  governing  princes  issued  a 
decree  abolishing  in  perpetuity  the  established  taxes,  under  some 
name  that  had  existed  since  the  time  of  Philip  the  Fair.  However, 
it  was  necessary  to  provide  for  the  cost  of  the  war  against  England, 
and  for  other  expenses :  the  treasury  was  empty,  and  the  revenues  of 
the  royal  domain  were  very  inadequate.  They  did  not  dare  to  convoke 
the  States- General,  and  they  could  draw  nothing  from  the  assemblies 
of  the  nobles.     It  was  necessary  to  re-establish   a   tax 

New  t&xcs. 

upon  merchandise    of  every   kind.     Immediately  a  for- 
midable tumult  broke  out ;    the  Parisians  ran  to  the  arsenal,  where 
they  found  mallets  of  lead  intended  for  the  defence  of  the  town,  and 
under  the  blows    from   which   the  greater  part    of  the 
collectors  of  the  new  tax  perished;  from  the  weapons   the Maiiiotins, 

Til-  n        ,  1380. 

used  the  insurgents  took  the  name  of  Maiiiotins.     Reims, 

Chalons,  Orleans,  Blois,  and  Rouen  rose  at  the  example  of  the  capital. 

This  prince,  in  favour  of  whom  King  John  had  newly  constituted  in  apanage  the 
duchy  of  Anjou,  reunited  to  the  crown  by  Philip  VI.,  was  the  head  of  the  second  house 
of  Anjou  which  reigned  at  Naples,  or  rather  which  claimed  that  crown.  The  first 
house  of  Anjou,  founded  by  Charles,  brother  of  Saint  Louis,  was  only  represented  in 
1380  by  Jeanne  I.,  Queen  of  Naples,  and  by  Charles  de  Durazzo  (or  Duras)  of  Anjou, 
her  cousin.  Jeanne,  to  the  detriment  of  her  natural  heir,  adopted  Louis,  son  of  King 
John  ;  and  from  that  time  commenced  a  long  struggle  between  the  second  house  of 
Anjou  and  the  royal  branch  of  Durazzo.  Louis  I.  in  1383,  and  Louis  II.  in  1390, 
both  invaded  the  kingdom,  but  neither  of  them  could  hold  it.  The  Durazzo  (or  Duras) 
reigned  until  1435.  At  this  period  Jeanne  II.  died  :  she  was  daughter  and  last  heiress 
to  Charles  de  Durazzo,  and  her  succession  caused  a  new  war  to  break  out.— See  further 
forward  in  this  volume,  The  State  of  Italy  at  the  end  of  the  fifteenth  century  (Reign  of 
Charles  VIII.) 

268  AVAR   WITH    FLANDERS.  [Book  II.    Chap.  V. 

The  States- General  of  the  Langue  d'Oil  were  then  convoked  at 
Compiegne,  and  separated  without  having  granted  anything.  The 
Parisians  were  always  in  arms,  and  the  dnkes,  powerless  to  make 
them  submit,  treated  with  tnem,  and  contented  themselves  with  the 
offer  of  a  hundred  thousand  livres.  The  chastisement  was  put  off 
for  a  time. 

The  Duke   of  Berry,  Governor  of  Languedoc,   then   reduced    the 
,,      T         .       inhabitants  of  that  province    to   despair.      A  crowd  of 

New  Jacquerie  *  r 

m  Languedoc.  wretched  men,  despoiled  of  every  resource,  concealed 
themselves  in  the  forests  and  mountains  of  Cevennes,  where  they 
formed  themselves  into  bands,  which  were  known  by  the  name  of 
Tuchins,  and  which  were,  for  a  long  period,  the  terror  of  the  nobles 
and  men  of  wealth. 

The  estates  of  the  north,  held  under  the  crown,  were  neither  more 
peaceable  nor  more  happy.  Count  Louis  of  Flanders,  driven  away 
by  his  people,  whose  municipal  franchises  he  had  violated  every  day, 
now  burning  with  a  desire  to  avenge  himself,  obtained  the  support 
of  the  young  king,  his  sovereign.  A  numerous  army  of  knights 
assembled  together,   and  Charles  marched  at  its  head ; 

War  with  Flan-  . 

ders.   Battle  of      Clisson  was  appointed  Constable,  and  the  brave  Sancerre 

Rosebecque,  ■*■  x 

1882-  commanded  under  him.     The  French  army  met  near  to 

Rosebecque  an  army  of  fifty  thousand  Flemings,  commanded  by 
Philip  Artevelt,  son  of  the  famous  brewer  who  was  leader  of  the 
sedition  in  1336.  The  Flemings  occupied  an  excellent  defensive 
position  ;  they  wished  to  march  against  the  enemy,  and  demanded 
battle  with  loud  cries.  Artevelt,  compelled  to  accede  to  this  desire, 
formed  all  his  army  into  a  square  phalanx ;  all  the  men  Avere  tied 
together  with  cords,  and  he  himself  took  his  place  in  the  midst  of  his 
brave  men  of  Ghent.  Then  this  enormous  and  compact  mass  ad- 
vanced, their  pikes  lowered,  with  a  regular  and  firm  step,  and  without 
uttering  a  word.  The  artillery  of  the  King  could  not  break  this 
terrible  phalanx  ;  the  Flemings  advanced,  so  say  the  chroniclers,  with 
the  impetuosity  of  wild  boars.  The  French  line  recoiled ;  but  the 
enemy  presented  a  smaller  front  than  they  did,  and  were  soon  sur- 
rounded on  all  sides.  After  the  first  shock,  the  two  wings  of  the 
royal  army  fell,  at  the  same  moment,  on  this  mass,  which  was 
incapable  of  deploying  or  defending  itself;  the  Flemings  were  driven 

1380-1422]  PUNISHMENT    OF   THE   PARISIANS.  2G9 

back  upon  themselves  by  the  long  lances  of  the  knights,  and  thou- 
sands of  men  perished  by  suffocation  without  receiving  a  wound  ;  the 
carnage  was  frightful.  Philip  Artevelt  perished  in  the  fight.  The 
towns  of  Flanders  were  given  over  by  the  conqueror  to  flames  and 
pillage  ;  Ghent  alone  still  resisted.  Courtray,  guilty  only  of  having 
been  the  theatre  of  an  ancient  defeat  of  the  French,  was,  by  order  of 
the  young  King,  destroyed  from  foundation  to  roof,  and  all  the 
inhabitants,  without  distinction  of  age  or  sex,  were  massacred.  The 
victorious  army  returned  to  Paris ;  the  moment  for  striking  the 
rebels  had  arrived. 

The  Parisians  perceived  with  fear  that  defence  was  impossible,  and 
received  the  order  to  lay  down  their  arms.  The  young  King  of 
fourteen  years  entered  the  town  as  an  irritated  conqueror ;  refusing  to 
pass  through  the  gates,  he  caused  a  breach  to  be  made  in  the  walls 
of  the  town,  and  it  was  through  it  that  he  penetrated  to  the  capital. 
For  many  days  he  remained  silent  ;  Paris  was  in  Chastisement 
anguish.  At  last  the  scaffolds  were  erected,  and  the  the  Parisians. 
executions  commenced  ;  one  hundred  of  the  richest  inhabitants  were 
executed,  and  among  this  number  was  the  virtuous  John  Desmarest, 
advocate-general  to  the  Parliament,   whose   crime   con-   _       ,.      . 

o  '  Execution  of 

sisfced  in  being  desirous  to  conciliate  all  parties.  "  Master  John  Desmai'est. 
John,"  they  said  to  him,  while  leading  him  to  execution,  "  cry  to 
the  King,  in  order  that  he  may  pardon  you."  Desmarest  answered, 
"  I  have  served  King  Philip  his  grandfather,  King  John,  and  King 
Charles  his  father,  well  and  loyally ;  never  could  those  three  kings 
reproach  me,  and  this  monarch  would  not  have  done  so  if  he  had 
had  knowledge  of  mankind ;  to  God  alone  I  wish  to  cry  for  mercy." 
A  crowd  of  other  citizens  awaited  their  sentences.  The  dukes  then 
threw  themselves  at  the  feet  of  the  King,  and  feigned  to  beg  mercy 
for  the  town,  begging  him  to  convert  the  executions  into  fines. 
Charles  listened  favourably  to  their  covetous  wishes.  The  wealth  of 
the  bourgeoisie  was  confiscated,  all  the  taxes  were  re-established, 
and  Paris  lost  its  municipal  privileges,  together  with  the  right  of 
electing  its  prevot  and  civil  magistrates.  The  soldiers  demolished  the 
principal  gates,  and  tore  away  the  iron  chains  which  served  as  a 
defence  in  all  the  streets.  Rouen,  Reims,  Chalons,  Troyes,  Gens, 
and  Orleans,  were  treated  in  a  similar  manner,   by  royal   commis- 

270  A  DESCENT  ON  ENGLAND   PROJECTED.        [Book  II.    ChAP.  V. 

sioners,  who  ordered  confiscations  and  executions.  The  dukes  seized 
upon  all  the  money  from  the  towns,  and  spent  it  in  profusion,  while 
the  treasury  remained  empty. 

The  revolt  of  Flanders  was  not  stifled  ;  so  many  atrocities  com- 
mitted by  the  French  had  excited  general  horror  and  indignation; 
the  town  of  Ghent,  which  alone  contained  more  than  one  hundred 
thousand  souls,  showed  the  example  of  perseverance  and  courage. 
Ackermann  commanded  it ;  Pierre  Dubois  and  he  reanimated  the 
Flemings,  and  allied  themselves  with  Richard  II.,  King  of  England. 
An  English  army,  commanded  by  the  Bishop  of  Norwich,  descended 
upon  Flanders,  pillaged  it,  and  sacked  the  towns,  which  were  occu- 
pied by  French  garrisons  contrary  to  the  wish  of  their  inhabit- 
ants. Charles  VI.  marched  forward  to  meet  the  English.  Flanders, 
the  victim  of  its  protectors  and  of  its  enemies,  became  a  theatre  of 
incendiarism  and  murder.  The  heroism  of  the  men  of  Ghent  saved 
that  unfortunate  country,  and  the  two  parties,  gorged  with  booty, 
longed  for  peace  on  either  side.  The  Count  of  Flanders  alone, 
furious  against  the  town  of  Ghent,  impeded  the  negotiations  ;  while 
the  Duke  of  Berry,  impatient  of  all  delay,  stabbed  the  Count  with 
his  dagger  and  killed  him.  The  death  of  Count  Louis  terminated 
the  war :  a  truce  was  signed  in  1384,  and  Flanders  passed  to  the 
Duke  of  Burgundy,  who  had  married  Marguerite,  heiress 

Flanders  is  °  J'  &  ' 

transmitted  to      to    that  powerful  county.       Ghent    submitted   itself   to 

the  Duke  of  Bur-  x  ^ 

gundy,  1384.         that  prince  in  the  following  year,  and  preserved  all  its 

Hostilities  commenced,  during  that  year,  between  France  and 
England.  Charles  sent  an  army  into  Scotland,  under  the  command  of 
John  of  Vienna,  admiral  of  France;  it  disembarked  near  Edinburgh, 
which  then  barely  contained  four  hundred  houses  of  a  rough  appear- 
ance. Another  army  marched  into  Castile  in  order  to  oppose  John 
of  Gaunt,  Duke  of  Lancaster,  uncle  of  Richard  II. ,  and  claimant 
of  the  crown  of  that  kingdom ;  lastly,  Charles  himself,  and  his 
uncles,  made  arrangements  for  a  descent  upon  England, 
descent  upon         Immense   preparations   were    ordered ;    in    Flanders    a 

England;  im- 

meuse  prepara-      formidable  army  assembled,  of  which  twenty  thousand 

tions,  1386.  . 

knights    and   as    many   archers    formed    the    principal 
force  ;  fifteen  hundred  vessels  had  to  serve  for  transport.      It  was 

1380-1422]  EEVEESES    OP   THE    FEENCH    AEMY.  271 

desired  that  a  town  should  be  ready  to  receive  the  army  when  it 
disembarked;   Olivier   de   Clisson,   the   Constable,   caused  one  to  be 
constructed,    of  three  thousand  paces  in  diameter,  in  the  forests  of 
Brittany ;  it  was  capable  of  being  taken  to  pieces,  and  would  then 
form  the  cargo  of  seventy- two  vessels.       This    enormous  armament 
met  at  the  port  of  Ecluse.     But  the  King  forgot  himself  in  the  midst 
of  his  fetes.     He  started,  but  pleasures  retarded  his  march.     He  only 
came  to  the  place  of  meeting  at  the  end  of  November,  and  the  Duke 
of  Berry  caused  him  to  wait  for  a  still  longer  period.     On  arriving, 
he  dissuaded  Charles   from   the    expedition ;  the    King   gave    it  up, 
disbanded  the  army,  and  abandoned  the  supplies  to  the  Disbandi  „ot 
pillage  of  the  chiefs.     Three  millions  of  livres  were  thus  the  army- 
lost,  without  profit  to  the  nation  and   without  profit  to   the  King. 
The  French  army  sent  to  the  succour  of  the  Scotch  against  England 
was  beaten.      That  which  fought  in  Castile  was  not  more 
fortunate  ;    and  shame  was  the    only  fruit  of  so   many  French  in  Scot- 
ambitious   projects.      Two   years   later,   Charles,  always  and  in  Guiidre, ' 
enamoured  of  war,  and  directed  by  his  uncles,  sustained 
the  Duke  of  Brabant,  and  made  war  for  him,  without  success,  against 
the  Duke  of  Guiidre.     Harassed  and  pursued  by  German  marauders, 
his    army    returned     to     France    in    distress    and    burdened    with 

The  King  at  length  opened  his  eyes ;  he  attended  to  the  ancient 
counsellors  of  his  father ;  they,  and  amongst  others,  Bureau  de  la 
Riviere,  Jean  de  Noviant,  and  the  Cardinal  Bishop  of  Laon,  Pierre 
Montargis,  showed  him  that  the  finances  were  plundered,  justice 
unknown,  public  safety  without  guarantee,  instruction  of  the  young 
abandoned,  the  roads,  the  fortified  places,  and  the  arsenals  falling  into 
ruins  for  want  of  being  repaired  ;  above  all,  they  pointed  out  the  general 
frightful  state  of  disorder,  produced  by  the  rapacity  of  the  princes  and 
the  nobles,  to  which  they  attributed,  with  justice,  so  many  misfortunes. 
Charles  permitted  himself  to  be  convinced,  and  in  a  great  council, 
where  the  Cardinal  of  Laon  requested  him  to  exercise  the  royal  power 
at  once,  without  participation,  he  signified  to  his  uncles  that  he  alone 
would  govern.  This  unexpected  declaration  announced  a  happy 
revolution  for  the  people  ;  but  a  few  days  afterwards  a  sinister  event 
struck  every  heart  with  fear  :  the  Cardinal  of  Laon  died  from  poison. 

272  THE    KING    EULES    ALONE.  [Book  II.   CHAP.  V. 

The  Duke  of  Burgundy  immediately  left  for  Dijon,  and  the  Duke  of 
Berry,  already  the  murderer  of  the  Count  of  Flanders,  retired  into 

After  having  borne  the  yoke  of  his  uncles,  of  which  one  alone,  the 
„,.   v.  Duke  of  Bourbon,   deserves   some   esteem,   Charles   VI. 

llie  Kinggoverns  '  ' 

by  himself,  1389.  foo^  wise  measures  in  the  interests  of  the  people.  He 
would  have  done  much  more  in  the  same  direction  if  he  had  had 
more  knowledge,  and  less  taste  for  pleasure.  Bureau  de  la  Riviere, 
Lamercier,  the  Lord  of  ISToviant,  Le  Begue  de  Yilaine,  all  honourably 
known  under  the  preceding  reign,  formed  the  royal  council,  which 
was  directed  by  Olivier  de  Clisson.  Soon  a  crowd  of  officers,  avari- 
cious despoilers  of  the  people,  were  destitute.  The  irritated  princes 
designated  under  the  contemptuous  nickname  of  marmousets  (little 
monkeys),  ov petites  gens    (little  women),  the  members 

Government  of  .  ,1 

the  Marmousets,   oi  the  new  government,    which    the     nation    received 

1389.  .  & 

with  favour  and  hope. 
Charles  also  gave  his  attention  to  the  extinction  of  the  Grand 
Schism ;  but  neither  of  the  two  Popes  would  show  himself  disposed 
to  sacrifice  his  pretensions  or  his  rights  to  the  interests  of 
Christianity ;  the  efforts  of  the  King  in  this  respect  were  powerless. 
He  turned  his  attention  towards  the  interior  of  the  kingdom,  and 
undertook  a  journey  to  the  south  of  France.  Fetes  awaited  him  in 
all  the  towns  ;  but  the  groans  of  the  people  reached  him  in  the  midst 
of   his    licentious  pleasures.     He    saw  Languedoc    laid  waste ;    the 

frightful  misery  of  that  beautiful  province  attested  to 
joimiegUofdthe  ^e  barbarity  of  the  Duke  of  Berry,  his  guardian. 
«iatgprovinfe)  Betizac,  the  minister  of  his  extortions,  was  arrested  by 
lo89'  order  of  the  King.     A  general  cry  was  raised  against 

him ;  the  lay  judges,  however,  dared  not  condemn  him,  and 
sentence  of  death  was  only  obtained  by  denouncing  him  in  the 
Church  as  a  heretic.     Charles  dismissed  the  Duke  of  Berry,  his  uncle, 

and   afterwards  freed  the  province  from    the    brigands 

who  infested  it.  Lastly,  interesting  himself  in  the 
progress  of  the  morality  of  the  people  and  in  military  instruction,  he 
closed  the  gaming-houses,  and  opened  everywhere  shooting-grounds 
for  the  bow  and  the  crossbow.  These  happy  omens  of  a  better 
future  were  of  short  duration.     The  Consbable  de  Clisson,  chief  of  the 

1380-1422]  MADNESS    OF   CHAELFS    YI.  273 

Marmousets,   in  going  out  from  the  royal  hotel  of  Saint  Paul,  was 
attacked  and  struck  with  many  blows  by  brigands  in  the  Attem  ted 
pay  of  Montfort,  Duke  of  Brittany,  his  mortal  enemy.   Jheaconstab?e0f 
Clisson  did  not  die  from  his  wounds,  and  the  King,  in   De  cllsson' 1393- 
a,  fury,  swore  to  avenge  him.     He  commanded  the  Duke  to  deliver  up 
Craon,  the  chief  of  the  assassins,  who  had  taken  refuge  with  him  ; 
Montfort  refused,  and  Charles  marched  into  Brittany  with  an  army. 
He  went  out  from  Mans,  at  the  head  of  his  troops,  in  the  month  of 
July,  in  the  year  1392,  and  passed  through  a  forest,  when  a  man  in 
delirium  rushed  before  the  King,  seized  the  reins  of  his  horse,  and 
said:  "  O  King!  go   not  further  forward ;  you  are  betrayed ! "     The 
guards  removed  the  man ;  the  King  kept   silent  and  continued  his 
inarch,  but  the  words  had  taken  possession  of  him.     For  a  long  time 
previously  his  excesses  had  shaken  his  brain.     Suddenly,  his  lance, 
which  was  carried  by  one  of  his  pages,  struck  against  the  helmet  of 
his  squire.     At  this  noise  Charles  shuddered ;  he  turned  towards  the 
place,  and  cried  out,  "lam  betrayed!"    Then  forcing  his   Ch  ri    VI 
horse  into  a  gallop,  he  rushed  sword  in  hand  upon  his  becomes  mad- 
officers,  and  killed  those  whom  he  could  reach  :  he  was  mad. 

Then  commenced  the  third  and  fatal  epoch  of  that  disastrous  reign. 
The    faction    of   the    dukes  again   seized   power  :    the   „    ..      .,, 

°  r  '  Faction  of  the 

Duke  of  Burgundy  took  possession  of  the  right  of  the  Princes-  Anarchy. 
royal  signature  and  exercised  sole  authority;  the  army  which 
marched  into  Brittany  was  dissolved  ;  the  council  of  the  King  was 
broken  up ;  all  his  ministers  were  prosecuted  and  thrown  into 
dungeons  ;  the  Constable  took  flight,  and  retired  into  Brittany,  where 
he  recommenced  the  war  against  Montfort.  The  Parliament  was 
subservient  to  the  passions  of  the  Duke  of  Burgundy ;  it  banished 
the  Constable  as  a  traitor,  and  condemned  him  to  pay  a  fine  of  a 
hundred  thousand  silver  marks.  The  Jews,  wisely  taken  care  of 
by  the  late  monarch,  always  offered  great  resources  to  the  state  ; 
but  being  creditors  of  the  nobles  and  charged  with  maledictions 
by  the  clergy,  they  were  driven  away.  Worse  than  all,  the  princes 
caused  the  shooting-grounds  for  the  crossbow  to  be  closed,  and 
opened  the  gambling-houses,  well  knowing  that  when  one  wishes 
to  tyrannize  over  a  people  it  is  necessary  to  disarm  it  and  corrupt 
it.     Such  were  the  first  deeds  which  signalized  that  horrible  period. 


274  THE    GREAT   SCHISM.  [Book  II.  CHAP.  V. 

Soon  after  frightful  dissensions  "broke  out  among  the  princes  them- 

No  fundamental  law  existed  which  could  regulate  the  future  of  the 
monarchy  and  decide  between  so  many  rival  pretensions.  The  fate 
of  the  state  was  then  abandoned  to  a  royal  council,*  which  was 
ruled  by  the  uncles  of  the  King,  whose  barbarous  avidity  was  too 
well  known;  by  his  wife,  the  Queen  Isabeau  of  Bavaria,  whom  the 
people  called  Lady  Venus  {Dame  Venus),  a  frivolous  and  avaricious 
princess,  passionately  fond  of  fetes  and  pleasure ;  and,  lastly,  by 
the  Duke  of  Orleans,  brother  of  the  King,  who  had  been  at  first 
excluded  from  the  government  by  his  uncles,  and  who  quickly 
showed  himself  their  emulator  in  despotism  and  cupidity.  Charles 
was  still  considered  to  be  -reigning ;  each  one  sought  in  turn  to 
get  possession  of  him,  and  each  one  watched  his  lucid  moments  in 
order  to  stand  well  in  power.  His  flashes  of  reason  were  still 
more  melancholy  than  his  fits  of  delirium.  Incapable  of  attending 
to  his  affairs,  or  of  having. a  will  of  his  own,  always  subservient  to 
the  dominant  party,  he  appeared  to  employ  his  few  glimmerings  of 
reason  only  in  sanctioning  the  most  tyrannical  acts  and  the  most 
odious  abuses.  It  was  in  this  manner  that  the  kingdom  of  France 
was  governed  during  twenty-eight  years. 

The  malady  of  the  King  was  attributed  to  enchantment ;  the  princes 
and  the  nobles  profited  by  this  to  strike  those  whom  they  wanted  to 
put  out  of  the  way.  Valentina  of  Milan,  wife  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans, 
was  herself  accused  of  sorcery,  and  taken  away,  under  that  pretext, 
from  Charles,  whose  confidence  she  had  gained. 

Nevertheless,  the  unfortunate  Charles  VI.  attributed  his  disease  to 

the  schism  which   desolated  Christianity,  and  believed 

Great  Schism  of     himself  punished  by  Heaven  for  having  neglected  to 

the  East.     State  ,  .  ...  T 

of  Europe  and  of   extinguish  it.     Tue  inflexible  Pierre  de  Luna,  who  took 


the    name    of   Benedict  XIII.,  had  replaced    the    anti- 

*  This  council,  besides  tlie  Queen,  the  Duke  of  Orleans,  the  Dukes  of  Berry,  of 
Burgundy,  and  of  Bourbon,  was  composed  of  Charles  III.,  King  of  Navarre,  and  of 
his  brother,  the  Count  of  Mortain  ;  of  three  princes  of  the  branch  of  Bourbon,  of 
the  Duke  of  Brittany,  and  of  the  Count  of  Alengon.  In  1400,  the  Duke  of  Anjou, 
Louis  II.,  driven  from  Naples,  sat  there  with  the  title  of  King  of  Sicily;  and  in 
1404  the  Duke  of  Burgundy,  John  the  Fearless,  caused  his  two  brothers  to  be 

1380-1422]  BATTLE    OF   NICOPOLIS.  275 

pope  Clement  VII.  In  vain  the  King  had  recourse  to  prayers  and 
to  force  in  order  to  urge  him  and  the  legitimately  elected  Pope, 
Boniface  IX.,  to  a  mutual  cession.  The  obstinate  Pierre  de  Luna 
resisted  the  soldiers  who  besieged  him  in  his  palace  of  Avignon,  as 
he  had  resisted  the  wishes  of  the  King,  of  the  Sorbonne,  and  of  the 
clergy.  To  so  many  scandals  was  added  an  invasion  of  Europe  by 
the  Turks  almost  as  formidable  as  that  under  Abderame ;  the  Greek 
empire  and  Hungary  were  invaded,  and  the  ferocious  Sultan  Bajazet 
boasted  that  he  would  lead  his  horse  to  eat  oats  in  Rome  upon  the 
altar  of  Saint  Peter.  Sigismund,  afterwards  Emperor,  and  then  King 
of  Hungary,  requested  assistance  from  France.  A  brilliant  army,  the 
chosen  of  the  youth  of  Prance,  set  out  under  the  orders  of  the 
Count  of  Nevers,  eldest  son  of  the  Duke  of  Burgundy ;  they  crossed 
the  Danube  and  besieged  ISTicopolis,  in  Bulgaria ;  but  under  the  walls 
of  that  town  the   Christian  army  was  exterminated  by   „  ...     .  .... 

«/  J      Battle  of   Nicc- 

Bajazet,   and   the   conqueror  only   spared    the    lives   of  pohs'  13S8- 
twenty   princes   and   high   nobles,    for   whom   he   hoped    to   receive 
immense  ransoms  :    that  of  the  Count  of  ISTevers  was  two  hundred 
thousand  crowns,  and  the  people  of  Burgundy  paid  it. 

The  principal  states  of  Europe  were  then  the  prey  to  anarchy  or 
civil  war ;  but  the  unskilful  chiefs  who  then  governed  Prance  did  not 
know  how  to  profit  by  this  favourable  circumstance  so  as  to  maintain 
peace,  then  so  necessary  for  the  kingdom.  England  had  accom- 
plished a  revolution  by  breaking  the  absolute  power  of  Richard  II. 
Deposed  by  the  Parliament,  that  monarch  was  assassinated;  Here- 
ford, Duke  of  Lancaster,*  cousin  of  Richard,  and  proscribed  by 
him,  reigned  in  his  place  under  the  name  of  Henry  IV.,  and  struggled 
against  rebellions  which  sprung  up  incessantly.  It  was  the  in- 
terest of  the  council  of  the  King  of  Prance  to  keep  well  with  him j 
but  the  Duke  of  Orleans,  whose  influence  increased  every 

-.  ,       '  . ..         ,  .  ,         ,        ,,      .  ,.  Administration 

day,  was  bent  upon  exciting  Jus  anger  by  deadly  insults  :    of  the  Duke  of 

->  •    i     p        Orleans. 

he  broke  the  truce,    and   let   loose   the   most   frightful 
calamities  upon  the  kingdom.. 

This  prince,  after  the  death  of  his  uncle  Philip  the  Bold,  Duke  of 
Burgundy,  came  up  in  1404,  and  exercised,  without  curb,  an  absolute 

*  The  father  of  Hereford  was  the  third  son  of  King  Edward  III.  Richard  II.  was 
the  son  of  the  eldest,  the  celebrated  Black  Prince. 

T   2 

276  ASSASSINATION   OF   THE    DUKE    OF    ORLEANS.    [Book  II.   Chap.  V. 

power,  and  decreed  an  enormous  tax,  of  which  he  divided  the  produce 
with  the  Queen.  The  misery  of  the  people  became  intolerable.  The 
law  of  taxation  was  exercised  pitilessly  upon  the  cottages,  and  even 
upon  the  hospitals  ;  the  poor  and  the  sick  were  violently  despoiled  by 
all  the  officers  of  the  nobles.  This  law  was  at  last  suspended  for  four 
years  by  those  who  had  most  abused  it.  The  princes  dissipated  the 
money  of  the  treasury  in  fetes  and  orgies ;  while  the  unfortunate  King*, 
deserted  by  all,  deprived  of  attention,  devoured  by  vermin,  and  often 
famished,  alone  understood  the  evils  of  the  people,  because  he  partook 
of  them  himself,  and  compassionated  the  sufferings  which  he  was 
unable  to  soothe. 

The    Duke  of  Orleans  soon  met  with  a    formidable   rival    in    the 

new  Duke  of  Burgundy,  the  same  John,  Count  of  ISTevers, 

between  the  who   was    conquered  at  Mcopolis,  and  whose    audacity 

Dukes  of  .  .  l'li 

Orleans  and  in  that  deplorable  expedition  had  bestowed  on  him  the 

surname  of  John  the  Fearless,  a  vindictive,  cruel, 
and  ambitious  prince,  fatal  to  his  race  and  his  country.  He 
arrived  from  his  county  of  Flanders  at  the  head  of  an  army.  At 
his  approach  the  Queen  and  the  Duke  of  Orleans  retired  to  Melun ; 
but  Burgundy  seized  the  royal  princes  and  princesses,  and  guarded 
them  in  Paris,  where  he  nattered  the  popular  passions,  restored  to 
the  bourgeois  their  arms  and  their  franchises,  taken  away  since 
the  sedition  of  1382.  His  rival,  on  the  contrary,  relied  on  the 
aristocracy.  Both  of  them  assembled  troops  together,  and  civil  war 
was  on  the  point  of  breaking  out.  The  other  princes,  however, 
maintained  peace.  On  the  same  day  the  two  enemies  were  reconciled, 
embraced,  and  conversed  together.  On  the  following  day  the  start- 
ling news  was  spread  that  the  Duke  of  Orleans  was  assassinated. 
,.        .    ,.  In  the    evening;    he    went    out    from    the    hotel    of  the 

Assassination  ° 

OrieM?ui407f  Queen,  mounted  upon  a  mule,  and  followed  by  a  feeble 
escort,  when,  near  the  Barbette  gate,  a  troop  of 
brigands  threw  themselves  upon  him,  crying  out  "  To  death !  to 
death!"  and  massacred  him  in  the  middle  of  the  street.  Terror 
reigned  in  the  council,  from  which  Burgundy  was  driven  away ;  he 
saved  himself  in  the  states,  then  he  returned,  followed  by  an  army, 
and  openly  proclaimed  himself  the  murderer  of  his  enemy. 
Already  his  crime  seemed  to  be  forgotten  •  the  interesting  Valent.'na 

1380-1-122]  THE   UNDEKHAND   PEACE.  277 

of  Milan,  widow  of  the  assassinated  prince,  alone  demanded  ven- 
geance ;  she  was  obliged  to  take  to  flight.  John  the  Fearless  was 
master  in  Paris,  and  he  chose  John  Petit,  a  famous  doctor  in 
Sorbonne,  to  vindicate  his  crime  before  the  whole  court.  John 
Petit  maintained  publicly  that  the  Duke  of  Orleans  was  a  despot, 
and  that  it  was  a  duty  of  all  men  to  kill  tyrants.  "  This  dis- 
course appeared  very  strange  to  .some  of  the  nobles  and  priests," 
says  a  chronicler  of  the  period,  "but  there  was  no  one  bold  enough 
to  speak  against  it  except  in  secret."  The  murderer  only  consented 
at  a  later  period  to  demand  the  pardon  of  the  King  and  of  the 
young  princes  of  Orleans ;  peace  was  sworn  between  them  at 
Chartres,  and  the  bad  faith  of  those  who  signed  the  treaty  caused 
it  to  receive  the  name  of  the  Underhand  Peace.  That  underhand 
same  year,  1409,  saw  Genoa  rise  against  the  French,  to  eace' 
whom  it  had  been  offered  ;  the  French  were  all  driven  from  Italy. 

A  slight  calm  succeeded  these  storms.     But  soon  the  members  of 
the    council,  jealous    of  the   ever-increasing  popularity  of  the  Duke 
of  Burgundy,  and  disquieted  about  their  own  safety,  quitted  Paris, 
and   rejoined  at   Gien  the  young  princes  of   Orleans,   of  whom  the 
eldest  married  the  daughter  of  Count  Bernard   of  Armagnac.     This 
pitiless  man,  who  was   one  of  the  most  celebrated  representatives  of 
the  great  feudal  system,  became  the  chief  of  a  party  to   c.  n  War 
which  his  name  was  attached.     An   army  of  ferocious   Burgaundians.nd 
Gascons  marched  under  his  orders,  and  threatened  in-   1410' 
surgent  Paris,  where  John  the  Fearless  caressed  the  vilest  populace.*5 
Burgundy  relied  on  the  name   of  the  King,   whom  he  held  in   his 

*  The  reaction  of  1385  had  inflicted  upon  the  high  bourgeoisie  wounds  much  more 
deep  than  those  of  1359.  The  latter  had  simply  struck  at  its  political  ambition,  but 
the  former  had  impoverished,  dispersed,  and  deprived  it  of  its  lustre  and  its  hereditary 
influence.  The  town  of  Paris,  among  others,  perceived  that  it  was  declining  in  two 
ways  :  by  the  loss  of  its  municipal  franchises,  and  by  the  ruin  of  the  families  which  had 
governed  and  given  counsel  in  the  days  of  its  liberty.  This  lowering  of  the  superior 
class,  composed  of  the  first  merchants  and  the  bar  of  the  sovereign  courts,  had  caused, 
in  a  degree,  an  intermediate  class  to  rise — that  of  the  richest  of  the  men  who  exercised 
manual  professions— a  less  enlightened  class,  grosser  in  manners,  but  to  whom,  however, 
the  force  of  circumstances  gave  influence  in  the  affairs  of  the  city.  From  thence  came 
the  character  of  uncurbed  political  power,  which  showed  itself  suddenly  in  the  Parisian 
population  when,  in  the  year  1412,  having  recovered  its  franchises  and  its  privileges, 
it  was  summoned  by  the  communes  to  play  a  political  part.  —A  ugustin  Thierry  :  Essai 
suv  VHistoire  du  Tiers-Etat,  chap.  iii. 

2/8  CONVOCATION   OF   THE    STATES-GENERAL.        [Book  II.   Chap.  V. 

power,  and  armed  in  the  capital  a  corps  of  one  hundred  young 
butchers  or  horse-knackers,  who,  from  John  Caboche,  their  chief,  took 
the  name  of  CabocJiiens.  A  frightful  war,  interrupted  by  truces 
violated  on  both  sides,  commenced  between  the  party  of  Armagnac 
and  that  of  Burgundy.  Both  sides  appealed  to  the  English,  and  sold 
France  to  them.  The  Armagnacs  pillaged  and  ravaged  the  environs 
of  Paris  with  unheard-of  crueltie.s,  while  the  CabocJiiens  caused  the 
capital  they  defended  to  tremble.  The  States- General,  convoked  for 
the  first  time  for  thirty  years,  were  dumb — without  courage  and 
without  strength.  The  Parliament  was  silent,  the  university  made 
itself  the  organ  of  the  populace,  and  the  butchers  made  the  laws. 
They  pillaged,  imprisoned,  and  slaughtered  with  impunity,  according 
to  their  savage  fury,  and  found  judges  to  condemn  their  victims. 

Nevertheless,  in  the  midst  of  such  an  anarchy,  the  commissioners  of 
the  town  and  of  the  university  laboured  at  the  reformation  of  the 
abuses  exposed  before  the  last  State s-General,  and  from  their  hands 
issued  a  code  of  reformed  and  wise  laws — the  first  sketch  of  French 
judicial,  administrative,  and  financial  legislation,  where  the  dominant 
idea  was  centralization,  then  so  necessary.*  Very  different  from  the 
Celebrated  r  l  cel^rated  ordinance  of  1357,  equally  dictated  by  the 
25th  May  1413 e  P°Pular  spirit,  this  one,  with  the  exception  of  the  elec- 
ofdomance  Caho-  ^on  which  it  instituted  for  judicial  offices,  respected  all 
the  attributes  of  the  royal  power.  Nevertheless,  its  prin- 
cipal clauses,  which  were  declared  inviolable,  and  presented  as  the 
fundamental  law  of  the  nation,  only  lasted  a  short  time.  The  dis- 
orders which  accompanied  the  publication  of  the  new  ordinance 
caused  it  to  be  discredited  by  honest  citizens ;  it  was  nicknamed  the 
Ordonnance  Cabocldenne.  From  that  time  it  was  condemned,  and 
three  months  later  it  was  annulled. 

The  demagogues  pursued  their  violent  course.  They  besieged  in 
his  hotel  the  Duke  of  Guienne,  Dauphin  of  France  ;  a  popular  orator, 
a  surgeon,  John  of  Troyes,  overwhelmed  him  with  reproaches  and 
threats,  and  the  favourites  of  the  prince  were  massacred.  The  King, 
always  a  slave  to  the  party  which  ruled  near   him,  approved    and 

*  This  celebrated  ordinance,  divided  into  ten  chapters,  treated  of  property,  of  money, 
of  indirect  taxation,  of  the  treasuries  during  war,  of  the  Chamber,  of  the  Exchequer,  of 
the  Parliament,  of  justice,  of  chancery,  of  the  woods  and  forests,  and  of  the  men-at-arms. 

1380-1422]  INVASION    OF    THE    ENGLISH.  279 

sanctioned  without  understanding  all  these  excesses,  which  terrified 
even  Burgundy  himself.  The  reaction  broke  out  at  last.  Tired  of 
so  many  atrocities,  the  bourgeoisie  took  up  arms,  and  shook  off  the 
yoke  of  the  horse-knackers.  The  Dauphin  was  delivered  by  them. 
He  mounted,  on  horseback,  and,  at  the  head  of  the  militia,  went 
to  the  Hotel  de  Yille,  from  which  place  he  drove  out  Caboche  and 
his  brigands.  The  counter  revolution  was  established.  Burgundy 
departed,  and  the  power  passed  to  the  Armagnacs.  The  princes 
re-entered  Paris,  and  Bang  Charles  took  up  the  oriflmmne  (the  royal 
standard  of  France),  to  make  war  against  John  the  Fearless,  whose 
instrument    he    had    been   a   short    time  before.      His   Treaty  of  Arras 

■  t->  ^  i',;i  ijT        between  Charles 

army  was    victorious.      Burgundy  submitted,  and    the   vi.  and  John 

the  Fearless, 

treaty  of  Arras    suspended  the   war,  but  not   the   exe-    1415. 
cutions  and  the  ravages. 

Henry  Y.,  King  of  England,  judged  this  a  propitious  moment  to 
descend  upon  France,  which  had  not  a  vessel  to  oppose  the  invaders. 
They  disembarked  without  obstacle  at  the  mouth  of  the  Seine,  and 
invested  Harfleur,  then  a  town  of  great  maritime  importance,  com- 
manding the  entrance  to  the  Seine,  and  one  of  the  keys  of  the 
kingdom.      France,  with   its   mad  King,   and  its  court   T       .      ,  .. 

°  '  &'  Invasion  of  the 

divided  into  hostile  factions,  was.  without  government,  Tafcin?of 
and  all  co-operation  against  a  foreign  power  was,  at  the  Harfleur« l415- 
outset,  impossible.  Harfleur,  however,  to  which  rushed  a  brave 
nobility,  was  valiantly  defended,  and  only  succumbed  after  a  month 
of  heroic  defence.  The  inhabitants  were  set  free  on  ransom,  and 
expelled  from  the  town ;  and  the  King  resolved  to  make  the  conquered 
place  a  town  altogether  English,  as  was  the  case  already  with  Calais. 
During  the  siege  his  army  had  suffered  enormous  losses,  less  by  the 
sword  than  by  disease ;  dysentery  and  fatigue  had  reduced  it  to  one- 
half,  and  of  thirty  thousand  men  that  he  had  brought  before  that 
place,  not  more  than  fifteen  thousand  remained.  This  number  was 
insufficient  to  conquer  the  kingdom ;  and,  on  the  other  side,  part  of 
the  French  army  under  the  Constable  d'Albret,  and  under  the  Dukes 
of  Orleans  and  Bourbon,  began  to  unite  together  in  Picardy.  Henry, 
placing  his  hope  in  the  slow  movement  of  a  divided  enemy,  believed 
that  he  had  time  to  reach  Calais  hj  land,  where  he  reckoned  upon 
halting  and  receiving  reinforcements. 

280  BATTLE    OF  AGINCOTJET.  [BoOK  II.   Chap.  V. 

Notwithstanding  the  careful  discipline  observed  by  the  English,  the 
population,  all  French  at  heart,  showed  themselves  hostile  in  all  direc- 
tions. They  traversed  the  country  of  Caux,  harassed  and  decimated, 
and  directed  their  course  towards  the  Somme,  which  they  crossed. 
The  French  army,  three  or  four  times  more  numerous,  awaited  them 
on  the  other  side  of  the  river,  near  to  the  village  of  Agincourt.  There 
occurred  a  battle  similar  to  those  of  Cressy  and  Poitiers.  The  armies- 
passed  the  night  opposite  to  each  other.  On  the  side  of  the  English, 
whose  peril  was  imminent,  everything,  by  order  of  the 
armies  near  to      King,  was  said  and  done  in  subdued  tones  and  in  dark- 

Agincourt,  1415. 

ness.  Amongst  the  French,  on  the  contrary,  great  fires 
were  lighted,  and  all  was  noise,  agitation,  and  confusion.  However^ 
while  the  French  thus  awaited  "the  perils  of  the  morrow,  they  sun- 
dered the  party  hatreds  which  had  for  so  long  separated  them,  and 
mutually  embraced  each  other  with  cordiality,  each  of  them  pardoning 
Battle  of  ^e  on?ences  0I*  ^ne  other.*     They  engaged  in  battle  at 

Agincourt.  break  of  day.     The  French  cavalry,  restricted  by  want 

of  space,  flung  themselves  pell-mell  upon  a  soil  moistened  by  rain,, 
and,  under  a  shower  of  arrows,  rushed  upon  the  sharp  stakes  which 
the  English  had  planted.  On  seeing  the  ranks  thus  overthrown^ 
the  English  issued  from  then'  fortified  enclosure,  and,  having  at 
their  head  King  Henry  V.,  penetrated  to  the  middle  of  the  second 
line  of  the  enemy.  The  King  of  England  had  then  run  into  great 
danger :  twenty- eight  noblemen  had  sworn  an  oath  to  join  together 
near  him,  and  strike  the  crown  from  his  head,  or  to  die  in  the  attempt, 
as  they  did.  They  nearly  pushed  forward  to  the  King,  and  one  of 
them  delivered  so  heavy  a  blow  on  his  helmet  that  he  struck  off  one  of 
the  ornaments  of  the  crown ;  but  they  were  surrounded,  overpowered 
by  numbers,  and  perished  even  to  the  last  man.  The  rearguard  of 
the  French  still  remained  intact,  but  seeing  the  first  two  ranks, 
overcome,  they  hardly  waited  for  the  shock,  but  turned  their  bridles 
and  fled.  The  battle  was  finished,  when  some  one  came  to  Henry  V., 
and  told  him  that  the  camp  was  attacked  by  a  fresh  army,  and 
Henry,  seeing  the  numerous  prisoners  that  he  had  made,  and  for 
whom  he  expected  heavy  ransoms,  ordered  that  all  the  captives 
should   be   put   to    death.     The    alarm   was   found   to   be  false,  but: 

*  Lefevre :  Saint-Henri. 

1380-1422]  PROGRESS   OF   THE    CIVIL   WAR.  281 

already  nearly  all  had  perished.  Extended  on  the  field  of  battle 
might  be  seen  ten  thousand  French,  nearly  all  nobles,  of  whom  a 
hundred  and  five  bore  standards,  and  seven  were  princes,  together 
with  the  Dukes  of  Severs,  Alencon,  and  Bar,  and  the  Constable 
d'Albret.  Amongst  the  few  surviving  prisoners  were  the  Marshal  of 
Boucicaut,  the  Counts  of  Eu,  Yen  dome,  and  Bichemont,  and  the 
Dukes  of  Bourbon  and  Orleans.  The  conqueror  King,  master  of  the 
sad  field,  cast  his  eyes  slowly  around  him,  and  having  asked  the 
name  of  a  neighbouring  chateau,  a  voice  answered,  "  Agincourt." 
"  "Well,"  said  he,  "  this  battle  will  take  the  name  of  Agincourt,  now 
and  for  ever."  *     . 

Then,  more  terribly  than  ever,  civil  war  broke  out.     The  Count  of 
Armagnac,    appointed    Constable,    reigned  in  Paris  by   Course  of  thQ 
terror  only ;    he  caused  a  multitude  of  Burgundians  to   cml  war- 
be  drowned  in  the  Seine,  in  which  river  he  forbade  the  Parisians  to 
bathe,  in  order  to  protect  the   secret  of  his  murders.     The  Queen 
Isabeau  of   Bavaria  alone  could  equal  the  authority   of  Armagnac ; 
she  was  sent  into  exile  by  her  husband  to  Tours.     Burgundy  took 
away  the  Queen  from  her  guardians,  and  proclaimed  her  regent.     A 
short  time  afterwards,  a  bourgeois  of  Paris,  named  Perinet  le  Clerc, 
delivered  [up  one  of  the  gates   of  the  capital  to  Isle- 
Adam,  an  officer  of  John  the  Fearless.     The  Burgun-    cierc  takes 

,         -,     .  -,  n  i'ii  i        Paris  from  the- 

dians   entered   into    the    town,    from   which   place   the   Burgundians, 


Prevot  Tanneguy  -  Duchatel  carried  off  the  young 
dauphin,  Charles,  the  last  and  only  surviving  son  of  the  King,, 
enveloped  in  his  bed-clothes.  The  populace  rose  again  under  the 
leadership  of  the  executioner  Capeluche  :  they  seized  the  Count  of 
Armagnac,  with  his  partisans,  and  threw  them  into  prison.  On 
Sunday,  the  12th  of  June,  1418,  the  murderers  rushed  Massacre  of  the 
to  the  prisons  at  the  Temple,  at  Saint  Eloi,  and  the  two  Armagnacs,  ui& 
Chatelets,  and  then  the  massacre  commenced ;  on  the  following  day 
it  continued  in  the  streets  and  houses  in  the  midst  of  Paris,  and  the 
very  pigs  were  fed  on  human  flesh.  The  Constable  had  perished,  one 
of  the  first,  and  the  people  took  a  hideous  pleasure  in  cutting  from 
his  corpse  a  large  strip  of  skin,  in  order  to  represent  the  scarf  of 
the  Armagnacs.     The  Queen  Isabeau,  brought  back  by  the  Duke  of 

*  Lefevre:  Saint-Remi. 

282  THE    ENGLISH   IN    FRANCE.  [Book  II.   ChAP.  V. 

Burgundy,  made  her  triumphal  entry  into  the  town  sullied  by  so 
many  horrors,  and  took  in  hand  the  sovereign  authority.  The  faction 
of  Orleans  then  conducted  the  Dauphin  to  Poitiers,  and  recognized 
him  as  regent.  There  were  thus  in  France,  in  the  midst  of  the 
calamities  of  a  foreign  war,  two  distinct  governments  more  hostile 
to  one  another  than  the  common  enemy  which  infested  the  kingdom. 
Henry  Y.  pursued  his  ravages  into  the  heart  of  the  kingdom. 
He    had    entirely    conquered   Normandy ;    Rouen    also, 

Progress  of  the  .  ;  . 

English  in  notwithstanding  the  valour  of  its  inhabitants,  sustamed 


by  the  heroic  Alain  Blanchard,  had  fallen  into  his 
power.  The  French  princes  seemed  at  last  to  perceive  the  necessity 
of  union.  The  Dauphin  had  appointed  an  interview  with  the  Duke 
of  Burgundy  on  the  bridge  of  MOntereau  ;  the  Duke,  after  hesitating 
for  a  long  time,  presented  himself,  and,  as  he  bent  the  knee  before 

the  Dauphin,   Tanneguy-Duchatel  struck  him  with  an 

Assassination  of  m  . 

John  the  Fear-      axe  upon  the  head,  and  killed  him  before  the  eyes  of  his 

less,  1419.  r  '  J 

master.  Thus  died  by  assassination  John  the  Fearless, 
the  assassin  of  the  Duke  of  Orleans.  This  murder  made  peace 
impossible.  Philip  the  Grood,  the  new  Duke  of  Burgundy,  in  order 
to  avenge  his  father,  offered  the  crown  to  Henry  Y.,  and  the  guilty 
Isabeau,  unworthy  queen  and  still  more  unworthy  mother,  negotiated 
between  her  unconscious  husband  and  Henry  Y.  the  shameful  treaty 
Treat  of  °^  r^royesj  signed  in  1420,  by  which,  in  contempt  of  the 

Troyes,  1420.  rights  of  the  royal  princes  of  France,  the  crown  was 
bestowed  in  perpetuity  on  Henry  and  his  descendants.  This  treaty, 
which  could  not  come  into  effect  until  the  death  of  King  Charles  YL, 
was  immediately  sealed  by  the  marriage  of  her  daughter  to  Henry. 
The  regency  of  the  kingdom,  during  the  malady  of  the  King,  was  to 
be  entrusted  to  Henry  Y.,  with  the  title  of  regent ;  and  he  swore  that 
lie  would  maintain  the  jurisdiction  of  the  Parliament,  as  well  as  the 
rights  of  the  peers,  the  nobles,  the  cities,  towns,  and  communities  of 
France,  and  to  govern  each  kingdom  according  to  its  laws  and 
customs.  This  treaty  was  received  with  favour  by  the  Parisians, 
equally  tired  of  the  yokes  of  the  Armagnacs  and  the  Burgundians, 
states-General  anc^  was  solemnly  approved  of  by  the  shameful  States- 
cf  1420.  General,  convoked  in  the  capital  and  presided  over  by 

the  King.     But  Henry  Y.  took  upon  himself  the  task  of  destroying 

1380-1422]  COUNCIL    OF   CONSTANCE.  283 

the  new  people  whom  he  ought  to  have  governed,  and  it  was  through 
his  cruelties  that  the  heart  of  the  French  people  was  restored  to  the 
Dauphin.  That  young  man,  sixteen  years  of 'age,  was  declared  guilty 
by  the  Parliament  of  homicide  on  the  person  of  the  Duke  of  Bur- 
gundy, and  deprived  of  his  rights  to  the  throne.  He  wandered  for 
a  long  time  in  the  provinces  of  the  south,  flying  before  the  English 
arms,    over   whom  his   generals  obtained  at  Bauge,  in 

°  °  Victory  of  the 

May,  1421,  a  glorious  but  useless  victory.     The  sudden  French  at  Bauge, 
death  of  Henry  V.,   in    1422,    prepared  a  new  destiny  J^athof 
for  the  Dauphin.     Charles  VI.  died  shortly  afterwards  ;   and  of  Henry  v., 
he  had  occupied  the  throne  for  forty- two  years. 

With  this  deplorable  reign  ended  the  scandals  of  the  Great  Schism 
of   the  East.     Innocent  VII.,  then  Gregory   XII.,  had   Course  and  ena 
succeeded    in  Italy   to   Boniface    IX.      The    anti-pope,    gcMsm^the 
Benedict  XIII.,  still  lived,  and  Erance  remained  neutral   East' 
between  him  and    his  rival,   until  the   cardinals  of  the  two   courts 
united  together  in  common  agreement  and  convoked,  in    _       ,     f 
1409,  the  Council  of  Pisa,  which  deposed  Gregory  and   constSwe* 
Benedict,  and  proclaimed  Alexander  V.    Alexander  died,   1409-1418- 
and  was  replaced  by  John  XXIII.     Lastly,  the  Emperor  Sigismund 
convoked  in  1414  the  famous  Council  of  Constance,  at  which  there 
attended  with  him  many  princes  of  the  empire,  twenty-seven  ambas- 
sadors of   sovereigns,  and  a   great  number  of  prelates  and  doctors. 
The    superiority  of   the  general   councils   over  the  popes  was  there 
established   by   a    celebrated    decree ;    John    XXIII.,    convicted    of 
enormous     crimes,    was    deposed,    and     the    assembly,    in    choosing 
Martin  V.  to  succeed  him,  considered  him  the  only  legitimate  Pope. 
Gregory  XII.  had  abdicated ;  the  obstinate  Benedict  XIII.  struggled 
to  the  death,  and  entrenched  himself  in  his  fortress  of  Peniscola  in 

The  Council  of  Constance  condemned  the  criminal  doctrine  pro- 
fessed by  John  Petit,  the  apologist  of  the  crime  of  John  the  Fear- 
less, and  attempted  to  repair  the  immense  injury  which  the  schism 
had  inflicted  upon  the  Catholic  religion ;  but  the  spirit  of  doubt  and 
of  examination  penetrated  into  all  quarters.  Already  John  Wycliffe 
had  preached  a  reform  very  boldly  in  England,  and  his  disciples, 
called  Lollards,    multiplied  every  day.      John  Huss  and   Jerome  of 

284  RELIGIOUS   REFORMERS.  [Book  II.   Chap.  Y. 

Prague,  other  reformers,  less  bold  than  "Wycliffe,  fixed  the  attention 
of  Grermany.  The  Council  of  Constance  caused  them  to  he  burned, 
notwithstanding  the  safe  conduct  which  the  former  had  received  from 
the  Emperor ;  it  believed  that  it  could  stifle  their  heresy  by  their 
execution ;  it  deceived  itself.  The  principles  established  by  the  men 
did  not  die  with  them ;  violence  and  treachery  only  engender  indig- 
nation, hate,  and  revolt.  Soon  the  war  of  the  Hussites  broke  out, 
and  was  the  forerunning  sign  of  the  conflagration  which,  in  the 
following  century,  caused  the  face  of  the  Christian  world  to  change. 
jSTo  period  was  more  sterile  in  great  characters  and  more  fruitful 
in  scoundrels  than  the  reign  of  Charles  VI.     Some  men, 

Celebrated  men.  . 

however,    acquired   in   France  a  reputation  worthy   01 

being  transmitted  with  honour  to* posterity.     Amongst  these  were  the 

Chancellor  of  the  University,  John  Grerson,  who  distinguished  himself 

above  all  by  his  ardent  and  disinterested  zeal  for  the 
John  Gerson.  #  .  .    i       ~  m 

extinction  of  the  schism,  and  to  whom  is  attributed,  but 

without  sufficient  proof,  the  admirable  book  of  the  Imitation;  the 

Advocate- General,  John  Desmarets,  who  was  borne  to  the  scaffold  as 

an  accomplice  in  the   seditions  to  which,  on  the  contrary,   he  had 

opposed   the  authority   of   his   power;    the  magistrate   Juvenal  des 

Juvenal  des  Ursins,   father  of   the  historian  of  that  name,  intrepid 

Ursms'  in  braving  the  fury  of  the  nobles  and  in  repressing  their 

criminal  violences  ;  lastly,  the   great  citizen,  Alain  Blanchard,  who 

immortalized   himself   in    the    defence   of   Rouen,    and 

Alain  Blanchard. 

r  y  -  lost  his  life  in  his  devotion  to  France  and  to  his  King. 

The  nation  at  this  epoch  did  not  honour  itself  by  any  useful  inven- 
tion ;  but  at  that  time  sprang  into  existence,  amid  streams  of  blood, 
playing  cards  and  the  dramatic  farces  of  the  Brethren  of  the  Passion 
and  the  lawyers'  clerks. 

The  gloomy  picture  of  the  crimes  and  misfortunes  of  France  during 
Moral  conside-  ^~e  hundred  and  fifty  years  from  the  death  of  Saint 
rations.  Louis  to  that  of  Charles  YL,  fill  the  soul  with  horror 

and  fear.  It  is,  notwithstanding,  fruitful  in  grave  proofs  that  the 
frightful  calamities  had  been  drawn  down  upon  their  authors,  whether 
they  were  monarchs,  princes,  nobles,  bourgeois,  or  peasants,  on 
account  of  so  many  acts  of  violence.  The  cruelty,  the  frauds,  and 
the   brutal   despotism   of   some  of   the   successors   of    Saint   Louis^ 

1380-1422]  GENERAL   CONSIDERATIONS.  28-5 

.aroused  the  wars  which  desolated  their  kingdom  and  their  lives ;  the 
nobility,  assassins  and  assassinated,  expiated  with  their  own  blood 
that  which  they  had  shed  ;  lastly,  the  violence  of  the  bourgeoisie  as 
soon  as  it  became  powerful,  the  refusal  of  all  personal  sacrifice,  and 
the  horrible  excesses  of  the  Jacquerie,  dishonoured  and  ruined  the 
popular  cause  for  a  lengthened  period  of  time.  Centuries  of  mis- 
fortune taught  the  nation  that  which  we  ought  never  to  forget;  it 
taught  them  that  a  people  cannot  enjoy  in  peace  the  advantages  of 
a  great,  strong,  and  free  nation,  until  it  knows  how  to  understand 
those  of  union,  of  obedience  to  the  laws,  and  of  the  sacrifice  of 
particular  interests  to  the  general  interest  of  the  country. 

286  CHARLES    YIL  [BOOK  III.  CeAJ>  I. 




Awaking  of  the  Nation. — Expulsion  of  the  English. — End  of  the 
Hundred  Years  War.  —  Extinction  of  the  Great  Feudal 
System*  in  France  by  the  Union  of  the  Duchies  of  Burgundy 
and  Brittany  with  the  Crown. — First  Wars  with  Italy. 




The  Kings  of  France,  while  becoming  more  absolute,  had  lost,  by 
f  Fr  nc      ^e  a^nse  °f  power,  that  which  had  in  great  part  made 
of  Charles  vn1     their  fortunes  from  the  reign  of  Louis  the  Big  to  that 
U22'  of  Saint  Louis.     The  people,  crushed  by  taxes  arbitrarily 

established,  pillaged  by  mercenary  soldiers,  and  oppressed  by  the 
nobles,  who  constituted  the  principal  force  of  the  armies,  ceased  to 
look  upon  the  cause  of  their  sovereigns  as  their  own,  and  withdrew 
from  them  their  confidence  and  their  love.  This  disaffection  of  the 
people  showed  itself  in  numerous  revolts,  and  aided  powerfully  the 
rapid  success  of  the  foreigners  in  the  heart  of  the  country.  The 
scourges  which  desolated  France  during  a  century  and  a  half,  and 
which  shook  the  monarchy,  were  only  suspended  in  the  course  of 
the  last  years  of  Charles  V.  ;  we  have  seen  how  they  reappeared 
more  terribly  than  ever  during  the  long  reign  of  his  unfortunate 
son.  At  the  end  of  that  period  the  monarchy  only  existed  in  name, 
and  appeared  to  be  sinking  in  general  dissolution.  God,  however, 
had  better  destinies  in  reserve  for  France. 

1422-1461]  STATE   OP  FRANCE.  28? 

A  central,  energetic,  and  powerful  authority  was  alone  capable 
of  striking  the  final  blow  at  the  feudal  arrnv ;  of  maintaining  in  the 
body  of  the  nation,  in  a  durable  manner,  so  many  persons  of  different 
origin  as  then  composed  the  kingdom ;  and  of  uniting  to  the  crown 
the  states  which,  between  the  Rhine,  the  Pyrenees,  and  the  ocean, 
were  still  separated  from  it.  The  English  themselves  assisted  in 
re-establishing  the  fortunes  of  France.  The  intolerable  oppressions 
which  they  caused  to  be  laid  upon  the  vanquished,  and  the  barbarity 
of  their  exterminating  government,  united  against  them  all  the 
oppressed.  A  national  sentiment  was  thus  created  amongst  those 
who  were  united  nnder  a  common  misfortune,  and  made  the  people 
turn  anew  with  hope  to  the  prince  who  had  been  proscribed  by  their 
tyrants,  and  who  alone  could  rescue  them  from  a  hateful  yoke. 
That  prince  was  Charles  VII.  From  his  accession  to  the  throne 
till  the  total  extinction  of  the  feudal  power,  during  a  century, 
the  destinies  of  the  royal  power  appeared  to  be  newly  connected  in 
an  intimate  manner  with  those  of  the  nation ;  and  both  went  on 
increasing  in  strength  and  in  power. 

A  blind  chance  does  not  preside  over  the  destinies  of  the  world. 
History,  which  has  shown  to  us  the  progress — very  slow,  it  is  true, 
but  real — of  humanity  towards  a  better  order  of  things,  proves 
sufficiently  the  existence  of  a  providential  action  in  the  midst  of  the 
innumerable  calamities  which  we  excite  by  our  passions  and  our 
vices.  This  action  of  divine  goodness  becomes  apparent  when  it 
assures  the  triumph  of  an  apparently  despairing  cause,  and  when 
the  means  employed  to  reach  the  end  seem  altogether  deprived  of 
power  and  strength.  Such  was  the  principal  sign  in  which  must 
be  recognized  the  assistance  that  God  deigned  to  lend  to  France 
after  the  signature  of  the  fatal  treaty  of  Troyes.  On  the  side  of 
the  foreigners  there  had  lately  been  seen  a  victorious  monarch,  in 
the  prime  of  life,  master  of  two-thirds  of  the  kingdom,  strong  in 
the  assent  of  the  States- General,  and  in  his  close  union  with  the  King 
and  Queen  of  France.  However,  Henry  was  no  more ;  but  still 
among  the  English  party  might  be  reckoned  the  greater  part  of  the 
French  princes,  also  the  great  vassals  of  the  crown,  the  capital,  and 
a  numerous  and  well-organized  army.  On  the  other  side  there  was 
to   be    seen   a   turbulent    nobility,   undisciplined   captains,   bands    of 

288  THE  EIVAL  KING.  [Book  III.  Chap.  I. 

ferocious  adventurers,  who  sought  less  to  save  the  kingdom  than  to 
divide  its  spoils  among§t  them;  lastly,  a  young  prince  of  eighteen 
years,  without  strength  of  mind  or  character,  stained  with  the 
suspicion  of  a  great  crime,  disgraced  by  a  decree  of  Parliament, 
abandoned  by  his  father  and  his  mother,  and  only  reigning  nominally 
over  some  provinces  which  were  a  prey  to  anarchy.  But  the  safety 
and  the  destiny  of  France  were  attached  to  the  triumph  of  his  cause, 
and  God  certified  it  in  a  few  years,  contrary  to  all  human  fore- 
sight. :  I  *> 
Catherine  of  Valois,  daughter  of  Charles  VI.  and  wife  of  Henry  V., 
had  brought  into  the  world  a  son  who  succeeded  his  father  in  1422, 
under  the  name  of  Henry  VI.  ;  he  was  then  scarcely  a  year  old,  and 
was  crowned  at  Paris  as  King  of  France  and  England. 

Henry  VI., 

King  of  France,    The    Duke    of   Bedford,    eldest   brother   of    Henrv   V., 

1432.  \  J 

governed  the  kingdom  in  the  name  of  his  nephew, 
and  knew  how  to  attach  to  himself  the  two  greatest  vassals  of  the 
crown,  John  VI.,  Duke  of  Brittany,  and  Philip  the  Good,  Duke  of 
Burgundy.  The  latter,  in  order  to  avenge  more  surely  his  father's 
assassination,  bestowed  the  hand  of  his  sister  on  the  Duke  of  Bedford, 
and  was  for  a  long  period  the  firmest  supporter  of  the  English  in 

The  Dauphin  Charles,   then   nineteen   years    old,   had   taken,   im- 
Sit  ati  n  f  mediately  after  the  death  of  his  father,  the  title  of  King, 

Charles  vii.  an(j  resided  a£  Bourges  with  the  Queen,  Marie  of  Anjou, 
his  wife.  The  remains  of  the  Armagnacs,  in  the  provinces  of  the 
centre  and  of  the  south-east,  only  recognized  his  authority,  and  the 
people,  who  still  remembered  tho  frightful  excesses  of  that  party, 
hesitated  at  first  to  declare  in  favour  of  the  young  prince,  who  was 
contemptuously  designated  by  his  enemies  the  King  of  JBoarges. 
The  soldiers  of  the  army  of  Charles  were  for  the  most  part 
foreigners,  like  those  of  Henry  VI. ;  his  army  was  composed  of 
Scotch,  and  of  ferocious  Armagnacs  or  Gascons,  for  a  long  period 
subjects  of  England.  His  constable  even,  the  Count  of  Buchan,  was 
a  Scotchman;  and  the  King,  surrounded  by  savage  men,  appeared 
for  a  long  time  to  take  as  little  interest  as  the  people  themselves  in 
his  own  cause. 

The  battle  of   Crevant-sur-Tonne,  lost  by  his  troops,  and  that  of 

1422-1461]  THE    CONSTABLE    RICHEMONT.  289 

Verneuil,  still  more  disastrous,  where  the  Constable  perished,  caused 
Charles  VII.  to  perceive  the  necessity  of  having  power-   Battles  of 
ful  supporters.      He  fixed  his   choice  upon  the  famous   Yonne,  and  of 

x  x  .  Verneuil,  1424. 

Richemont,  brother  of  the  Duke  of  Brittany,  and 
offered  him  the  sword  of  the  Constable.  Richemont  only  accepted  on 
condition  that  the  Armagnacs  should  be  driven  from  the  court,  and 
that  Charles  should  separate  himself  from  the  assassins  of  John 
the  Fearless.  Tanneguy-Duchatel,  the  most  powerful  and  the  most 
guilty,  left  the  first,  and  hastened  by  his  voluntary  exile  the  useful 
bringing  together  of  Richemont  and  the  King.  Freed  from  the 
faction  which  had  held  him  in  guardianship,  Charles  ceased  to  be 
looked  upon  as  the  instrument  of  a  hateful  party,  and  appeared  to 
reign  himself ;  but  years  had  still  to  roll  away  before  he  was  King 
in  reality,  and  worthy  of  the  devotion  of  his  people.  Character  f  th 
Without  character  and  without  will,  incapable  of  any  KiD£- 
serious  occupation,  indolent  and  voluptuous,  he  was  the  plaything 
and  the  slave  of  his  favourites,  or  of  all  those  who  obtained  an 
ascendancy  over  his  mind ;  and  he  forgot  them  as  soon  as  chance  or 
violence  had  separated  them  from  him.  He  received  successively  from 
the  hand  of  the  Constable  two  favourites,  the  Lords  of  Griac  and  of 
Beaulieu :  to  each  in  turn  he  granted  a  blind  and  foolish  confidence, 
and  saw  them  without  anger,  one  after  the  other,  assassinated  by 
that  same  Richemont  who  had  placed  them  near  him, 

Violent  acts  of 

but  to  whom  the  confidence  bestowed   on  them  by  the   the  Constable 


King  had  given  umbrage.  Richemont  had  given  a 
third  favourite  to  the  King,  the  Lord  of  La  Tremouille ;  but  he  also 
met  with  the  fate  of  his  predecessors,  through  getting  out  of  favour 
with  the  Constable ;  and  Charles  saw  with  indifference  his  court  and 
his  nobility  divided  between  the  two  rivals.  He  then  lingered  at 
Chinon  in  effeminacy  and  pleasures,  while  his  party  was  weakening 
every  day,  and  discord  reigned  in  his  camp.  Already  the  English 
threatened  Orleans,  the  most  important  of  the  towns  still  remaining 
faithful ;  they  had  made  themselves  masters  of  the  head  of  the  bridge 
and  the  outworks,  notwithstanding  the  bravery  of  La  Hire,  of 
Xaintrailles,  of  Gaucourt,  and  above  all  of  the  famous  Dunois, 
bastard  son  of  Orleans,  the  last  and  powerless  defenders  of  the 
French  monarchy.     Lastly,  the  defeat  of  the  French  and  Scotch  at 


290  JOAN  OF  ARC.  [Book  III.  Chap.  I. 

the  battle  of  the  Herrings  *  appeared  to  give  the  finishing  stroke  to 
Battle  of  the         ^ie  "^  °^  ^at  ^0wnj  an(^  ^°  inflict  a  mortal  wound  upon 

Herrings,  1429.        ^e  cailse  0f    Charles. 

But  in  proportion  with  the  new  triumphs  gained  by  the  English, 
their  yoke  became  more  intolerable,  and  developed  in  the  kingdom 
a  national  sentiment  capable  of  working  prodigies  if  ifc  were  set  in 
action  by  hope  and  confidence.  Religious  enthusiasm  mingled  itself 
in  the  heart  of  the  French,  who,  seeing  in  their  misfortunes  the 
chastisements  of  an  avenging  God,  awaited  the  end  of  their  sufferings 
from  the  divinity  alone. 

Such  were,  in  1429,  the  sentiments  of  the  mass  of  the  nation, 
when  a  young  girl  of  twenty  years,  named  Joan  of  Arc, 

Vocation  of 

Joan  of  Arc,  born  of  poor  parents  in  the  village  of  Domremy,  upon 
the  frontiers  of  Lorraine,  announced  that  she  had  re- 
ceived from  Grod  a  mission  to  cause  the  siege  of  Orleans  to  be  raised 
and  to  conduct  the  King  to  Reims  to  his  coronation.  She  was 
beautiful,  endowed  with  a  noble  and  pure  soul,  and  united  much 
reason  and  humility  to  a  great  religious  fervour.  She  was  assured 
that  interior  voices  had  revealed  to  her  the  heavenly  will,  and 
Joan  of  Ar  t  requested  to  be  led  to  Chinon  to  Charles  VII.  Brought 
Chmon.  -^q  ^g  preserLCej  sne  distinguished  him,  it  is  said,  upon 

the  spot,  among  all  his  courtiers,  and  kneeling  before  him,  she 
repeated  to  him  the  order  which  she  declared  that  she  had  re- 
ceived from  heaven.  Charles,  whom  she  still  called  the  Dauphin, 
caused  her  to  be  examined  by  prelates  and  matrons,  in  order  to 
assure  himself  of  the  truth  of  her  inspiration,  and,  on  their  report, 
placing  faith  in  her  word,  he  caused  a  complete  suit  of  armour  to 
be  given  to  her.  She  wished  to  have  a  white  standard  sprinkled 
with  fleurs-de-lis,  and  declared  that  in  digging  into  the  earth  at 
Saint  Catharine  de  Fierbois,  near  the  principal  altar,  a  sword 
bearing  upon  its  blade  five  particular  signs  would  be  found.  It  was 
found  there,  and  she  made  the  sword  her  own.  She  did  not  wish  to 
use  it  so  as  to  kill  any  one,  and  she  often  said  that  although  she 
loved  her  sword,  she  loved  her  standard  forty  times  more.     "  I  have 

*  This  battle  received  its  name  from  a  convoy  of  salt  fish  sent  "by  the  English  to  those 
who  were  besieging  Orleans.  The  French  artillery  broke  open  the  casks  in  which  the 
fish  were  contained,  and  the  field  of  battle  was  strewed  with  herrings. 

1422-1461]  HEE  EXPLOITS.  291 

seen  her,"  wrote  one  who  lived  at  that  period,  u  armed  at  all  points, 
&nd  all  in  white  except  the  head,  mount  npon  a  great  black  steed,  and 
then  turn  to  the  door  of  the  church,  which  was  near,  saying  in  a  femi- 
nine voice — '  Yon,  the  priests  and  people  of  the  chnrch,  canse  pro- 
cessions to  be  made,  and  offer  np  prayers.'  Then  she  turned  again 
to  her  path,  saying,  '  Press  forward,  press  forward /  '  And  she  had 
her  standard  folded  np,  and  carried  by  a  handsome  page,  and  bore 
her  little  battle-axe  in  her  hand."  *  The  report  soon  spread  among 
the  two  armies  that  a  being  endowed  with  supernatural  power  had 
come  to  fight  for  Charles  VII.  ;  and  whilst  the  French  saw  divine 
intervention  in  this  prodigy,  the  English,  stricken  with  terror,  only 
wished  to  recognize  in  it  the  influence  of  the  demon. 

For  her  first  exploit  Joan,  notwithstanding  the  strict  blockade, 
conducted  into  Orleans  an  army  which  had  left  Blois.  Orleans  delivered 
"In  five  days,"  said  she,  "Orleans  will  be  free."  The  1429. 
English  had  encircled  the  town  with  formidable  fortifications  ;  almost 
all  of  these  were  carried  by  assault  by  the  besieged.  One  only 
resisted,  that  of  Tournelles,  a  veritable  citadel,  where  the  enemy  had 
concentrated  all  his  forces.  The  French  generals  had  decided  that 
they  would  wait  till  they  received  reinforcements  before  they 
commenced  the  attack,  and  signified  their  resolution  to  the  heroine. 
She  answered, — "  You  have  held  your  council,  but  the  council  of 
my  Lord  will  be  accomplished,  while  that  of  men  will  perish."  She 
carried  along  with  her  the  people  of  Orleans,  and  the  soldiery 
followed  by  impulse.  However,  after  three  hours  of  terrible  fighting, 
the  assault  was  repulsed,  and  the  retreat  sounded.  Joan  was 
wounded,  and  fell  at  the  foot  of  the  parapet,  but  she  raised  herself, 
and  going  aside  into  a  vineyard  remained  for  a  quarter  of  an 
hour  in  prayer.  Then  she  rushed  out  anew,  seized  again  her  standard, 
and  planted  it  upon  the  fortress,  and  in  an  inspired  voice  cried  out, 
"All  is  yours  !  enter  within."  Consternation  and  fear  had  seized  the 
defenders;  their  chief,  Grlasdale,  perished  with  the  elite  of  his  soldiers, 
and  the  French  penetrated  into  all  parts  of  the  conquered  fortifica- 
tion.    Joan,  at  the  head  of  the  people  and   of  the  army,  re-entered 

*  This  letter,  written  by  Guy  de  Layal,  from  the  place  which  he  held  at  the  court,  is 
one  of  the  most  precious  monuments  of  the  period,  and  one  of  the  most  perfect  models 
of  wit  and  of  chivalric  loyalty  in  the  fifteenth  century. 

V  2 

292  DEFEAT    OF    THE    ENGLISH.  [BOOK.  III.  ChAP.  L 

Orleans  in   the  evening,   to  the  sound  of  the  ringing  of  bells  and 
amid  cries  of  triumph  and  joy  from  the  delivered  city.  * 

Suffolk  and  Talbot,  the  English  generals,  had  been  witnesses  of 
this  astonishing  reverse,  without  daring  on  their  side  to  attempt 
anything  to  prevent  it.  They  held  a  council,  and  raised  the  siege 
on  the  same  night.  From  that  time  Joan,  under  the  name  of  the 
Maid  of  Orleans,  soon  became  celebrated  throughout  the  whole 
kingdom ;  France  awoke,  enthusiasm  gained  men's  hearts,  and  a 
Awaidn"-  of         crowd  of  soldiers  rushed  to  join  the  standard  of  Charles, 

while  Bedford  saw  his  English  seized  with  fear.  Places 
on  the  banks  of  the  Loire,  Jargeau,  Meun,  and  Beaugency,  were 
speedily  taken ;  everywhere  the  English  fell  back ;  at  last  Joan  and 

her  army  met  thenj  at  Patav,  in  the  plains  of  Beauce. 

Defeat  of  the  J  #  J '  r 

English  at  Patay,   La  Hire  and  Xaintrailles,  who  led  the  advance-  guard  of 

1429.  '  ° 

the  French,  immediately  charged  the  enemy  without 
permitting  them  to  entrench  themselves ;  the  latter  were  at  once; 
thrown  into  disorder,  and  the  victory  was  gained  by  the  main  body 
of  the  army.  In  vain  Talbot  surpassed  himself;  by  his  obstinacy  he 
only  rendered  his  defeat  more  sanguinary.  Joan  of  Arc  triumphed 
over  that  famous  captain ;  and  then,  as  on  other  occasions,  she 
compassionated  the  sufferings  of  the  conquered,  caused  the  succour 
of  religion  to  be  brought  to  the  wounded,  while  she  herself  bestowed 
her  pathetic  care  upon  them. 

After  this  glorious  battle,  Joan  of  Arc  went  to  find  the  King  at 

Gien,  and   coniured  him  to  march  boldly  upon  Reims, 

Joan  of  Arc  . 

conducts  the  King  there  to  cause  himself  to  be  crowned,  and  solemnly  to 

to  Reims.  * 

take  possession  of  his  kingdom.  Charles  allowed  him- 
self to  be  persuaded,  and  advanced  across  Champagne  with  his  army. 
Troyes,  situated  upon  the  road  to  Reims,  closed  its  gates.  It  was  in 
this  town  that  the  last  treaty,  so  humiliating  for  France,  had  been 
signed,  and  they  feared  the  vengeance  of  the  King.  The  besiegers 
were  short  of  provisions,  the  country  round  about  was  all  ruined,, 
everything  appeared  desperate.  The  council  of  war  wished  to  raise 
the  siege,  but  Joan  presented  herself;  the  internal  voices,  she  said,, 
had  assured  her  that  within  two  days  the  town  would  give  itself  up. 

*  A  fete  was  instituted  in  honour  of  the  raising  of  the  siege,  and  celehrated  on  the 
5  th  of  May,  every  year,  at  Orleans. 

1422-1461]  CORONATION    OF   CHARLES    VII.  293 

The  event  followed  the  prediction :  on  the  following  day  the  town 
capitulated.  Charles  VII.  went  over  the  town  in  the  grand  panoply 
of  war,  and  then  pursued  his  march.  Chalons  opened  its  gates  to 
him,  and  he  arrived  at  last  under  the  walls  of  Reims,  at  the  glorious 
end  of  his  journey.  The  Burgundian  captains  who  commanded  the 
town  evacuated  it  without  giving  battle.  Charles,  on  the  16th  of 
July,  made  his  triumphal  entry,  and  he  was  crowned  in  the  ancient 
cathedral.     The  Maid  of  Orleans  placed  herself  near  to 

Coronation  of 

the  King  and  the  principal  altar  during  the  ceremony,    Charles  vil, 
standing   erect   with   her    standard   in   her  hand.     Her 
mission  was  accomplished.* 

After  the  coronation,  Joan  embraced  the  knees  of  the  monarch,  and 
,said  to  him,  "  Gentle  King,  now  is  the  pleasure  of  God  executed.  He 
.desired  that  you  should  come  to  receive  your  coronation  worthily,  by 
showing  that  you  are  the  true  King,  and  he  to  whom  the  kingdom 
ought  to  belong.  I  have  accomplished  that  which  was  commanded 
of  me,  which  was  to  raise  the  siege  of  Orleans,  and  to  cause  the  King 
to  be  crowned.  I  would  now  wish  to  go  back  to  my  father  and 
mother,  to  take  charge  of  their  sheep  and  cattle."  These  simple  and 
touching  wishes  were  not  heard  favourably  ;  the  captains  of  Charles 
Jiad  recognized  in  Joan  their  most  powerful  auxiliary,  and  they 
prayed  that  she  would  remain  with  them.  She  consented  with  regret, 
but  showed  still  the  same  courage  in  action,  although  not  the  same 
confidence  in  herself.  She  was  wounded  at  the  unfortunate  siege  of 
Paris,  and  lastly  taken  prisoner  in  a  sortie,  whilst  heroically  defending 
Compiegne,  which  the  English  and  Burgundians  attacked  together. 
John  of  Luxembourg',  commander  of  the  siege,  sold  her 

°'  &    '  Joan  of  Arc 

to  the  English  for  ten  thousand  livres,  and  the  Regent  prisoner  of  the 

°  °  English. 

Bedford  caused   a  solemn  Te  Deum  to  be  sung  on  that 

occasion.     Then  party  spirit  exhibited  itself  in  its  most  hideous  form. 

In  the  rage  into  which  the  English   lashed   themselves    against  the 

*  The  King  recognized  the  immense  services  which  it  had  pleased  God  'to  render  to 
his  cause  through  the  feeble  hands  of  a  woman.  He  ennobled  all  the  family  of  Joan  of 
Arc  in  perpetuity,  and,  by  a  unique  but  perfectly  comprehensible  exception,  it  was  said 
that  nobility  transferred  itself  to  this  family  through  females.  Joan  obtained  a  short  time 
afterwards  the  sweetest  and  purest  of  recompenses,  by  the  royal  edict  which  exempted 
for  ever  from  the  land-tax  the  villages  of  Grreux  and  Domremy,  where  she  was  born  and 
where  she  had  passed  her  infancy. 

294  DEATH   OF  JOAN   OP  ARC.  [Book  III.   Chap.  I. 

woman  who  had  made  them  tremble,  can  be  recognized  that  merciless 
feeling,  the  resentment  of  fear  and  of  humiliated  self-respect. 

Delivered  over  to  the  Inquisition,  as  suspected  of  magic  and  sorcery, 
the  unfortunate  girl  was  shut  up  in  the  dungeons  of  Rouen,  and 
there  was  found  a  Bishop  of  Beauvais,  Pierre  Cauchon,  who,  altogether 
devoted  to  the  English  by  vengeance  and  ambition,  lent  to  their  fury 
m .  .   .  T       t     his    shameful    ministry.     The    trial    commenced :    inn- 

Trial  of  Joan  of  J 

Arc-  delities,  atrocious  threats,  and  sacrileges,  everything  was 

used  in  order  to  consummate  the  sacrifice  of  an  heroic  virgin  ;  and 
while  the  civil  power  and  the  ecclesiastical  authority  leagued 
together  to  convict  Joan  of  imposture  and  alliance  with  the  devil, 
she  opposed  to  the  subtleties  of  theology  and  the  plots  hatched  by  a 
merciless  hate,  the  inspirations  of  a  most  open  conscience,  the  lights 
of  a  righteous  and  superior  reason,  which  confounded  her  enemies 
themselves.  It  was  to  God  that  she  attributed  all  her  successes. 
The  bishop  asked  her  if  she  was  in  a  state  of  grace.  Joan  said, 
"  If  I  am  not,  God  wishes  to  put  me  into  that  state  ;  if  I  am,  then  God 
wishes  that  I  should  remain  so."  When  interrogated  as  to  her  words 
and  acts  in  the  battles,  she  answered,  "  I  said,  Go  boldly  among  the 
English;  and  I  went  myself."- — "Does  God  hate  the  English?" 
asked  the  bishop. — "  Of  the  love  or  of  the  hate  that  God  has  for  the 
English,"  she  said,  "  I  know  nothing ;  but  I  know  that,  with  the 
exception  of  those  that  die  here,  all  will  be  driven  out  of  France." — 
"  Was  her  hope  fixed  in  her  standard  or  in  herself?  "■ — "  It  is  founded 
in  our  Lord,  and  not  otherwise." — "Why  did  she  carry  the  standard 
before  the  King  to  Beims?" — "It  had  been  in  trouble,"  she  said, 
"  and  it  was  right  that  it  should  be  held  up  to  honour." 

So  much  reason  and  good  sense  did  not  affect  her  judges  ;  they 
had  declared  that  God  could  not  wish  Charles  VII.  to  triumph; 
after  that,  the  demon  alone  had  inspired  Joan.  They  condemned  her 
to  be  burnt  alive. 

On  the  31st  of  May,  1431,  she  was  led  to  the  place  of  execution, 

dressed  in  a  long  black  robe.    She  forgot  neither  her  King,  nor  France 

for  which  she  died  ;  she  prayed  for  them,  and  requested 

Death  of  Joan  of 

Arc  at  Rouen,       the    prayers    of   all    the   assistants,    and    pardoned  her 

enemies.     Her  youth,  her  tears,  and  the  Christian  words 

which  fell  from  her  lips,    drew   tears  even  from  English    eyes,  and 

1422-1461]  HATRED   TOWARD   THE   ENGLISH.  295 

filled  the  minds  of  her  judges  with  terror.  The  trouble  caused  by  this 
frightful  spectacle  was  such  that  the  civil  sentence  was  not  even 
pronounced.  "Lead  her  on!  Lead  her  on!"  said  the  affrighted 
bailiff  to  the  executioner.  The  soldiers  dragged  her  away  and  bound 
her  to  the  post,  the  infamous  mitre  of  the  Inquisition  was  placed  upon 
her  head,  and  then  the  flames  brightened.  "Jesus!"  she  cried,  and 
pressed  to  her  heart  a  wooden  cross ;  then  she  asked  earnestly  that  the 
crucifix  from  the  neighbouring  church  should  be  brought  to  her  ;  she 
kissed  with  fervour  the  image  of  the  Just  One  who  was  sacrificed  for 
sinners,  of  the  Man- God  who  died  for  the  salvation  of  the  world  ;  she 
invoked  his  name,  she  invoked  all  the  angels  of  Paradise,  where  the 
saints  had  promised  to  conduct  her.  Perhaps  then  she  understood  at 
last  the  true  sense  of  their  prophetic  words  :  "  Joan,  Joan,  take  all 
things  patiently,"  said  the  voices,  "and  have  no  care  for  your 
martyrdom  ;  you  will  be  delivered  by  a  great  victory."  That  victory 
was  the  last  which  broke  her  fetters  and  opened  up  to  her  heaven. 
"Jesus!  "  she  Cried  again,  in  the  midst  of  the  flames;  then  she  bent 
her  head,  and  breathed  forth  her  innocent  soul  and  her  last  sigh. 

Charles  heard  of  her  death  with  indifference;  he  did  nothing  to 
prevent  it  or  to  avenge  it,  and  waited  for  twenty-five  years  before 
ordering  that  the  memory  of  the  heroine  should  be  reinstated.  He  had 
again  fallen  into  his  culpable  indolence.  His  favourite,  La  Tremouille, 
had  drawn  him  away  from  warlike  pursuits,  and  in  order  to  preserve 
his  ascendancy,  kept  him  at  the  Chateau  of  Chinon  by  the  attraction  of 
fetes  and  pleasures.  Charles,  surrounded  by  his  mistresses,  failed 
again  in  his  fortune,  while  his  captains  fought  separately,  as  chiefs  of 
partisans ;  they  received  from  him  no  order,  no  pay,  no  support,  and 
submitted  the  country  where  they  ruled  to  frightful  exactions.  The 
English,  however,  were  still  more  odious  to  the  people ;  in  vain 
Bedford,  in  order  to  hold  the  capital,  called  within  its  walls  the  young 
King  Henry  VI.,  and  caused  him  to  be  crowned  ;  in  vain  he  deposed 
himself  from  the  title  of  regent  in  order  to  bestow  it  on  a  French 
prince,  the  Duke  of  Burgundy;  the  English  and  their  allies  the 
Burgundians  were  equally  detested,  and  insurrections  broke  out  in  all 
parts  of  the  kingdom. 

The    most    skilful    of    the    captains    of    Charles,    the    Constable 
Richemont,  fell  into  disgrace,  was  restored  to  favour,  and  commanded 

296  THE   ENGLISH   LEAVE   PARIS.  [Book  III.  Chap.  I. 

the  army.  About  the  same  time,  in  1435,  Bedford,  brother-in-law 
of  the  Duke  of  Burgundy,  died,  and  his  death  broke  the  ties  of  that 
duke  with  England.  Burgundy  sacrificed  at  last  his  long  resent- 
ment to  the  interest  of  France,  and  became  reconciled  to  Charles  VII. 
He  was  exempted  from  all  vassalage  during  his  life ;  the  King  ceded 
„    ,     .  .  to  him  the  counties  of  Auxerre  and  Macon,  with  other 

Treaty  of  Arras,  ' 

1435,  places.     He  promised,  besides,  to  disavow  the  murder  of 

John  the  Fearless,  to  deliver  up  its  authors,  and  to  grant  an  amnesty 
to  all  those  of  his  subjects  who  had  taken  up  arms  against  him.  On 
these  conditions  Philip  swore  to  forget  the  past,  and  signed  with  his 
cousin  an  offensive  and  defensive  alliance  in  the  town  of  Arras.  The 
French  were  united,  and  the  maintenance  of  the  English  dominion 
became  impossible.  Paris,  after  belonging  to  the  crown  of  England 
for  seventeen  years,  opened  her  gates  to  her  King,  and  soon  the 
English  only  remained  in  Normandy  and  Gruienne. 

An  extraordinary  and  complete  change  was  effected  in  the  mind  of 
A  akin  of  Charles  VII.,  and  the  honour  was,  in  part,  to  be  attri- 

Chariesvu.  buted  to  his  mistress,  Agnes  Sorel.  A  will  full  of 
energy  had  taken  the  place  of  his  indolent  indifference  ;  his  frivolity 
was  changed  into  prudence  and  wisdom,  and  his  voluptuous  tastes  no 
longer  excluded  him  from  an  active  perseverance  in  warlike  and 
political  affairs. 

The  French,  since  the  union  of  Charles  with  the  Duke  of 
Burgundy,  began  to  enjoy  some  repose  ;  but  then,  as  in  the  time  of 
Charles  V.,  at  the  end  of  the  long  civil  wars,  bands  of  mercenaries, 
without  pay  and  without  employment,  infested  the  kingdom.  The 
captains  of  Charles  VII.,  and  amongst  them  the  celebrated  La  Hire 
and  Xaintrailles,  for  a  long  period  accustomed  to  make  war  on  their 
own  account  and  without  discipline,  continued,  in  despite  of  the 
treaty  of  Arras,  to  pillage  Burgundy,  and  gloried  in  the  name  of 
Ecorclieurs  (horse-flayers),  which  the  hatred  of  the  people  had 
bestowed  on  them.  Charles  repressed  their  disorders,  and  wished  to 
prevent  their  recurrence.  With  this  object  he  undertook  a  wise 
measure,  which  contributed  powerfully  to  the  peace  of  the  interior 
states  g  n  it  ailc^  ^°  ^e  strengthening  of  the  royal  authority.  After 
Orleans,  1439.  having  convoked  the  States- General  at  Orleans,  he 
asked  and  obtained  from  them  a  tax   of  twelve  hundred  thousand 

1422-1461]  PERPETUAL    TAX.  297 

livres  for  the  pay  of  a  permanent  army.     This  tax  was  destined  for 
the   support  of   fifteen   hundred   men-at-arms,    each    of 

1  L  Organization  of 

whom  was  to    be   followed   by  five  men  on   horseback,    a  permanent 

J  army,  1439. 

a  page,  a  cutler,  and  three  archers.  The  King  divided 
them  into  fifteen  privileged  companies,  which  he  disseminated  through 
all  parts  of  the  kingdom  ;  .each  being  entrusted  with  the  charge 
of  its  own  garrison.  On  their  part,  the  soldiers  could  not  separate 
without  leave,  and  each  captain  was  responsible  for  the  pillages 
and  violences  of  his  men,  who  were  to  be  in  submission  to  the 
jurisdiction  of  the  bailiffs  and  the  jprevots.  The  pay  for  a  man-at- 
arms  and  his  suite  was  fifteen  livres  per  month.  Some  years  later 
Charles  completed  the  organization  of  the  permanent  army,  by 
compelling  each  parish  to  furnish,  at  the  call  of  the  King,  a  good 
infantry  soldier  fully  equipped,  and  on  whom  the  military  service 
conferred  several  privileges,  high  pay,  and  exemption  from  taxes. 
These  foot  soldiers  were  called  free  archers. 

This  reconstruction  of  the  military  system  produced  immense  re- 
sults ;  the  King  thus  obtained  an  army  always  numerous  and  always 
ready  to  run  down  in  mass  upon  all  points  menaced  by  revolt  or 
war.  He  caused  the  elite  of  his  captains  and  soldiers  of  adventure 
to  enter  it ;  while  terror  restrained  those  who  could  not  be  admitted. 
To  the  States- General  of  1439  must  be  attributed,  in  fact,  the  merit 
of  this  creation,  for  it  was  by  them  that  the  first  necessary  funds 
were  granted ;  however,  they  had  only  granted  the  tax  of  twelve 
hundred  thousand  livres  for  one  year  ;  the  King  on  his  own  authority 
made  it  perpetual.  Thus  was  established  in  France,  illegally,  the 
direct  permanent  tax.  Nevertheless,  the  people  paid 
without  murmuring.  Besides,  Charles  VII.  by  his  1439- 
ordinance  had  only  made  regular  a  state  of  things  which  already 
existed.  The  levy  of  troops  had  not  been  interrupted,  and  the 
prospect  of  being  delivered  from  the  pillage  of  the  soldiery  was 
an  immense  relief  to  the  dwellers  in  the  country.  The  perpetual  tax 
was  personal  or  real,  according  to  the  different  provinces  ;  that  is  to 
say,  either  established  on  all  the  revenues  of  the  tax-payer  or  only 
upon  his  landed  property.  At  first  it  was  popular,  but  there  were 
bad  readjustments  of  the  impost,  its  amount  was  always  increasing, 
and   above   all   the   innumerable    immunities  admitted   later    on    in 

298  INSURRECTION   OF  THE   PRAGUERIE.  [Book  III.   Chap.  I. 

favour  of  the  privileged  classes  rendered  it  hateful  throughout  the 
whole  kingdom.* 

Crimes  of  every  description  multiplied  in  a  fearful  manner ;  the 
King  gave  to  the  prevot  of  Paris,  Robert  d'Estouteville,  full  power 
to  judge  and  condemn  every  person  convicted  of  any  crime  what- 
soever. The  Parliament,  whose  rights  were  forgotten,  kept  silence  ; 
all  liberty  was  stifled,  and  the  kingdom  given  over  to  a  despotic 
power.  The  people  had  suffered  too  long  for  want  of  government ; 
they  had  passed  through  a  horrible  anarchy,  and  felt  the  want  of 
a  central  and  vigorous  authority.  Commerce  sprung  up  again, 
agriculture  became  flourishing,  and  the  King  was  hailed  as  the 
restorer  of  order. 

However,  the  military  aristocracy  could  not  see,  without  uneasi- 
ness, the  progress  of  the  royal  power.  It  made  an  insurrection 
which  was    called   Praguerie. f     In    this    revolt  it  was 

Praguerie,  1440.  m 

necessary  to  have  chiefs ;  the  Dauphin,  who  was  after- 
wards Louis  XI.,  the  princes  of  royal  blood,  and  the  captains  of  the 
JEcorcheurs,  offered  themselves.  They  seized  several  towns  and  forti- 
fied places,  and  wished  to  recommence  a  civil  war ;  but  the  times 
were  changed.  Charles  VII.,  at  the  head  of  a  disciplined  army, 
marched  against  the  rebels,  who  one  after  the  other  submitted. 
One  only  remained  formidable,  and  that  was  the  prince  who  was  heir 
to  the  crown.  He  retired  into  Dauphine,  and  from  that  time  a  deep 
enmity  existed  between  father  and  son. 

After  having  pacified  the  interior,  Charles  VII.,  profiting  by  the 
civil  wars  which  were  exhausting  England,  tried  to  expel  the  enemy 
from  the  kingdom.  Two  great  provinces,  Gruienne  and  Normandy, 
were  still  under  the  foreign  yoke.  In  a  year,  half  of  the  fortified 
places  in  Normandy  were  reconquered.  The  Duke  of  Somerset,  who 
continued  to  bear  the  title  of  Regent  of  France,  vainly  endeavoured 
to  defend  Rouen  against  the  army  of  Dunois.  In  the  following  year 
the    Constable   Richemont    and  the    Count   of    Clermont   gained    a 

*  Refer  for  the  taxes  in  France  to  Chap.  III. ;  and  further  on,  under  Charles  VII. ,  to 
the  establishment  of  the  Court  of  Aides. 

t  The  name  of  Praguerie,  which  was  given  to  this  revolt,  came  from  Prague,  a 
town  in  Bohemia,  then  famous  throughout  Europe  for  its  seditions  during  the  war  of 
the  Hussites. 

1422-1461]  EXPULSION   OF   THE    ENGLISH.  299 

sanguinary   victory   at   Formigny,    between    Carentan    and   Bayeux. 
That  battle  decided  the  fate  of  the  war ;  all  the  towns 

■  _,  Victories  of  the 

m  Lower  JN  ormandy  revolted  ;  Cherbourg  was  taken,  and   French  at 

Formigny  and 

the  entire  province,  with  its  two  capitals  and  its  hundred   at  Castnion. 

Expulsion  of  the 

fortresses,  was  again  united  to  France.     Guienne  alone   English, 

'  &  1550-1553. 

belonged  to  England.  It  was  soon  conquered  by 
the  victorious  army ;  but  as  soon  as  the  expedition  terminated,  the 
English  reappeared,  and  Bordeaux  in  receiving  them  within  its  walls, 
rendered  a  new  campaign  necessary.  Talbot,  then  eighty  years  old, 
commanded  the  English;  he  attacked  the  French  army  before 
Castillon,  which  he  besieged:  a  cannon-ball  carried  off  both  the 
old  hero  and  his  son.  Their  deaths  were  the  signal  of  a  complete 
defeat.  The  town  was  given  up ;  then  Libourne,  and  lastly 
Bordeaux,  opened  their  gates.  Guienne  was  for  the  future  French ; 
and  of  all  its  continental  possessions  England  only  preserved  Calais. 
The  hundred  years  war  was  finished,  and  a  long  period  of 
internal  quarrels  and  calamities  commenced  for  England  in  the 
madness  of  Henry  VI.,  who  had  just  married  the  heroic  and  ambitious 
Margaret  of  Anjou. 

A  truce  had  suspended  the  hostilities  between  the  English  and  the 
French,  when  the  Emperor  Frederick  III.  requested  the  support  of 
France  against  the  republican  cantons  of   Switzerland.     The  assist- 
ance  of  Charles   VII.    was    equally   solicited   by  Bene,    Campai„ns  of 
Duke  of  Lorraine,   against  the   free  town  of  Metz  and   s^i^Smd'and 
against    Toul,   Verdun,    and    some    other    towns,  which   Lorrame' 1444- 
called  themselves  subjects  of  the  empire.     Charles  VII.  complied  with 
these  requests   and   sent   two  armies,  one  into   Switzerland  and  the 
other  into  Lorraine.     The  Dauphin  Louis  commanded  the  first,  which 
was  composed  of  men  of  all  nations,  and  of  a  band  of  adventurers, 
compelled  to  be  so  through  the  inaction  caused  by  the  treaty  with 
England.     This    army   met    that    of    the    Swiss    Cantons    at    Saint 
Jacques,    near   Bale.       The    Swiss   were  then  the   best 

„  Battle  of  Bale,  or 

infantry  in  Europe.     They  were  armed  with  long  pikes,    Saint  Jacques, 
which   they   wielded  with  as    much   strength  as  skill ; 
they  had    gained  great    victories  for   a   century  over   the   chivalry 
of  the  empire.      They  advanced  with  fury  against  the  advance-guard 
of  the  French  army,  and  threw  it  into  disorder ;  but  having  ventured 

300  THE    PRAGMATIC   SANCTION.  [Book  III.  ChAP.  I. 

imprudently  to  attack  the  main  body  of  the  army,  they  were  in  their 
turn  repulsed  and  broken  up.  The  Dauphin,  struck  with  their 
bravery,  made  peace  with  them,  in  spite  of  the  Emperor  and  the 
empire ;  he  desired  to  attach  the  Swiss  to  himself,  and  concluded  an 
alliance  with  those  whom  he  had  vanquished. 

The  events  of  the  campaign  in  Lorraine  were  little  decisive.  The 
towns  of  Toul  and  Verdun  recognized  the  King  as  their  protector ; 
Metz  resisted,  was  besieged,  and  bought  the  maintenance  of  its 
liberty  by  a  contribution  of  war.  This  rapid  campaign  gave  a  proof 
of  the  pretensions  of  Charles  VII.  upon  a  portion  of  Lorraine,  but 
there  was  no  other  important  result. 

The  wounds  of  France  closed,  and  prosperity  began  to  spring  forth 
anew.  The  King  had  taken  up  the  tradition  of  the  government 
of  his  grandfather  Charles  V. ;  by  his  care  the  whole  administration 
was  reformed.  After  the  ordinances  upon  the  military  state,  there 
Reforms  in  the  appeared  the  ordinances  concerning  the  accounts  of  the 
.administration,  treasury,  the  assessment  of  the  land-tax,  and  the  render- 
ing of  accounts.  A  special  court  was  then  instituted  for  every  civil 
and  criminal    trial    connected   with  the  taxes ;    this  su- 

Royal  decrees. 

preme  jurisdiction,  called  the  Court  of  Aides,  had  soon 
numerous  tribunals.  To  this  prince  also  belonged  the  honour  of 
having  commenced  the  regulation  of  the  Customs.     Until  that  time, 

throughout  the  north  of  France,  then  called  the  countrv 

Court  of  Aides.  °  .  J 

Regulation  of        of  Customs,  justice  was  only  dispensed  according:  to  a 

the  Customs.  ...  . 

legislation  which  was  not  written.  By  the  creation  of 
the  Parliament  of  Toulouse  the  King  restrained  the  jurisdiction  of 
that  of  Paris,  which  then  extended  itself  throughout  the  provinces. 
Under  the  following  reign  several  other  parliaments  were  instituted, 
one  of  which,  held   at  Grenoble,  replaced  the  Delphic  court.    After 

having:   organized  the   army,   the  treasury,  and   justice, 

NewParliaments.  .  .  . 

Charles  occupied  himself  with  the  Church  of  France. 
It  was  he  who,  in  1438,  promulgated  solemnly,  before  the  French 

clergy  assembled  at  Bourges,  the  Pragmatic  Sanction, 
sanction,  1438.  proclaiming  the  liberties  of  the  Grallican  Church,  such 
as  the  council  then  sitting  at  Bale  had  denned.  It  recognized  the 
superiority  of  the  General  Councils  over  the  Pope,  restricted  to  a 
small  number  the    cases    of   right  to  appeal  to  Rome,  forbade   the 

1422-1461]  JAQUES   CKEUE.  301 

publication  of  papal  bulls  in  the  kingdom  before  being  registered  in 
Parliament,  deprived  the  pontifical  court  of  the  revenue  of  vacant 
benefices,  and  entrusted  the  election  of  the  bishops  to  the  chapters, 
of  the  churches. 

In  these  works,  which  were  so  important  and  so  diverse,  the 
States- General  had  only  a  feeble  part ;  their  last  meeting  had  taken 
place  at  Orleans,  in  1439,  and  for  twenty-two  years  Charles  did  not 
convoke  them  ;  instinctively  he  hated  these  assemblies,  guilty,  in  his 
eyes,  of  having  favoured  the  troubles  of  the  preceding  reigD,  and  of 
having  sanctioned  the  shameful  treaty  of  Troyes;  but  Charles  was 
seconded  in  his  work  by  skilful  counsellors,  who,  for  the  most  part,, 
had  been  drawn  from  the  ranks  of  the  bourgeoisie.  The  two  most 
illustrious  were  John  Bureau,  master- general  of  ordnance, 

°  _       Jacques  Cceur. 

and  Jacques  Cceur,  rendered  as  much  celebrated  by  his 
prosperity  as  by  his  misfortunes.  By  commercial  speculations  in 
Europe  and  Asia,  Jacques  Cceur  had  acquired  immense  wealth,  with 
which  he  generously  supported  the  credit  of  Charles  VII.  That 
prince  ennobled  him,  and  named  him  his  treasurer;  it  is  to  him 
that  all  the  financial  reforms  of  "that  period  are  to  be  attributed.  But 
the  avaricious  courtiers  coveted  his  fortune  and  came  between  the- 
King  and  him.  His  wealth  was  soon  seized  and  divided  amongst 
those  who  had  been  appointed  his  judges,  and  amongst  them  was 
to  be  seen  the  man  who  succeeded  him  in  his  office.  Accused 
of  embezzlement,  and  deprived  of  all  means  of  defence,  Jacques  Cceur 
was  condemned  without  proof,  and  banished  from  the  kingdom. 

Charles  had  become  the  wisest  and  the  most  powerful  monarch 
in  Europe,  but  just  causes  of  distrust  and  resentment  with  regard 
to  the  Dauphin  embittered  his  latter  years.  Louis,  who  had  married 
first,  Margaret  of  Scotland,  had  secondly  espoused,  contrary  to  the 
wish  of  his  father,  Charlotte,  daughter  of  the  Duke  of  Savoy.  The 
King  ordered  him  to  come  and  justify  himself  at  his  court,  where  the 
Count  of  Dammartin,  an  enemy  of  the  prince,  was  all  powerful.  The 
Dauphin,  fearing  all  the  counsellors  of  his  father,  and  ndt  being  able 
to  obtain  surety  for  his  person,  thought  at  first  to  resist  with  open 
force,  and  assembled  troops ;  but,  soon  convinced  of  his 

i  1  n  •    t  ^  ^  « -    "      .        Flight  of  the 

powerlessness,  he  took  to  mgnt,  and  sought  refuge  in  Dauphin  into 

B  urgundy. 

the  court  of  Burgundy,  where  he  was  received  by  Philip 

the   Good  and  by  Charles  his   son   with  honour   and   munificence. 

302  FALL   OF   THE    GEEEK   EMPIRE.  [Book  III.   Chap.  I. 

The  King  soon  took  possession  of  Dauphine,  caused  all  the  revenues 
to  be  seized,  and.  united  that  province  to  the  states  which  were  held 
directly  from  the  crown.  The  Dauphin  had  implored  the  pardon 
of  his  father,  but  the  King  knew  his  false  and  perverse  heart,  and 
vainly  requested  that  he  would  ask  for  pardon  verbally  ;  unfortunately, 
a  formidable  example  had  recently  increased  the  distrust  of  his  son. 
The  Duke  of  Alencon,  prince  of  the  blood  royal,  was  accused  by 
the  King  of  treason  and  of  complicity  with  England.  The  peers  of 
the  kingdom  convoked  for  his  judgment  condemned  him  to  death. 
Charles  commuted  the  punishment,  and  caused  the  prince  to  be  shut 
up  in  the  tower  of  the  Louvre  ;  the  Dauphin  declined  to  expose 
himself  to  a  similar  chastisement.  The  King,  from  that  time,  believed 
that  he  lived  in  the  midst  of  the  emissaries  of  his  son  and  of  their 
ambushes.  Lastly,  fearing  that  he  would  be  poisoned  by  them,  and 
suffering  besides  from  an  abscess  in  the  mouth,  he  refused  all 
Death  of  Charles  nourishment  an(i  allowed  himself  to  die  of  hunger.  He 
vii.,  1461.  expired  on  the  22nd  of  July,  1461,  in  his  fifty-eighth  year. 

Some  years  before  the  death  of  this  prince  there  was  accomplished 
Fall  of  the  Greek  on  ^ne  banks  °^  ^he  Bosphorus  the  grand  catastrophe 
Empire,  1453.  which  terminated  the  Middle  Ages.  Already  Bajazet, 
conqueror  of  the  Christians  afc  "Nicopolis,  had  twice  encamped  before 
the  gates  of  Constantinople.  The  invasion  of  the  Mogul  Tamberlane 
into  the  Asiatic  possessions  of  the  Turks,  and  the  famous  battle  of 
Agora,  where  Bajazet  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  new  conqueror,  alone 
saved  the  Greek  empire,  or  at  least  retarded  its  fall  for  half  a 
century.  Mahomet  II.  achieved  the  work  which  his  predecessors 
had  attempted.  At  the  head  of  an  army  of  250,000  men  he  besieged 
by  land  and  by  sea  that  illustrious  capital.  The  cry  of  distress  of 
the  Greeks  was  not  heard  in  Christendom,  which  was  then  divided 
by  schisms,  by  revolts,  and  by  wars.  Constantinople  at  length 
succumbed,  and  its  last  emperor,  Constantine,  perished,  buried 
beneath  its  ruins,  in  1453.  Greece,  Epiria,  Bosnia,  and  Servia  were 
conquered ;  the  Isle  of  Rhodes  alone,  defended  by  the  brave  knights 
of  Saint  John,  escaped  from  the  infidels. 

At    the    moment    when  the    Turks    had   established 

State  of  Europe  .  . 

at  the  end  of  the    themselves   m  Europe   in  order  to    remain    there,    the 

Middle  Ages. 

popedom,  after  an  absence  of  seventy  years,  which  the 
historians  of  the  Church  called  the  captivity  of  Babylon,  returned 

1422-1461]  CONDITION   OF   EUROPE.  303 

to  Rome  ;  but  it  saw  its  spiritual  prestige  weakened  by  the  scandals 
of  the  schism,  and  its  temporal  power  incessantly  shaken 
by  the  conspiracies  of  the  Roman  nobility  and  the  sedi- 
tions of  the  populace. 

For  a  long  time  the  republics  of  Lombardy,  deprived  of  their 
ancient  glory,  had  been  the  prey  of  their  powerful  neighbours  or  their 
ambitious  citizens.  Milan,  the  most  illustrious,  bent  its  head  under 
the  Visconti,  to  whom  succeeded  the  Sforza.  Florence,  on  its  side, 
crushed  by  the  quarrel  of  the  Whites  and  Slacks,  descendants  of  the 
Gruelphs  and  Ghibellines,  was  by  degrees  subdued  by  a  race  of  opulent 
merchants  and  patrons  of  art,  the  famous  Medici.  Grenoa  and  Venice 
disputed  the  empire  of  the  sea,  and  exhausted  themselves  by  that 
rivalry.  Naples,  lastly,  was  conquered  under  the  second  House  of 
Anjou  by  Alphonso  V.,  King  of  Aragon  and  of  Sicily,  who  received 
from  the  Pope,  in  1473,  the  investiture  of  that  new  kingdom. 

The  Iberian  peninsula,  where  the  Moors  still  held  the  kingdom 
of  Grenada,  was  divided  into  many  small  states,  which  ain 
were  always  at  war  with  one  another — Portugal,  Cas-  Portugal- 
tile,  Navarre,  and  Aragon.  This  latter  kingdom  commenced  to 
predominate  ;  it  extended  itself  to  the  exterior  by  conquests,  and, 
uniting  itself  with  Castile  by  the  marriage  of  Ferdinand  and  Isabella, 
it  soon  formed  the  true  kingdom  of  Spain. 

In  the    north,   England,    which  Henry  V.  at  the  commencement 
of  the  century  had  raised  to  so  high  a  fortune,  exhausted 
itself  under  an   imbecile   king  and  a  haughty  queen  to 
preserve  its  conquests  by  sea,  while,  in  the   heart   of  the  country, 
already  the  germs  of  the  terrible  Wars  of  the  Roses  fermented. 

In  Germany,  the  wars  of  the  Hussites  inundated  Bohemia  with 
blood.      The    Emperor    Sigismund   had    succeeded   the 

r  °  Germany  and 

ignoble  Yanceslas,  but  he  was  powerless  in  trying  to  Hungary, 
extinguish  the  fire  which  the  funeral  pile  of  John  Huss  had  kindled  ; 
and  the  fierce  Taborites,*  commanded  by  Zisca,  the  terrible  blind 
man,  and  by  the  Procope,  only  succumbed,  after  twenty  years  of 
struggle,  under  their  own  blows.  Sigismund  died  in  1437,  and  the 
imperial  crown,  which  encircled  the  head  of  Albert,  already  King  of 

*  The  name  of  Taborites  was  given  to  the  Hussites  on  account  of  a  mountain  in 
Bohemia,  where  their  camp  was  established,  and  which  they  had  called  Tabor. 

304*  INTELLECTUAL    PROGRESS.  [Book  III.  Chap.  L 

Hungary  and  Bohemia  and  Archduke  of   Austria,    went  no  longer 
to  the  House  of  Hapsburg. 

France   was   at   peace,    but   she   groaned    under    a    multitude    of 

torments  and  abuses.  The  new  day  which  had  already 
under  Charles       enlightened     Italy    commenced,  however,    to    penetrate 

into  the  kingdom.  French  poetry  had  acquired  grace 
and  harmony :  the  lyrical  verses  of  Charles  of  Orleans,  the  prisoner 
of  Agincourt,  and  of  King  Rene  of  Anjou,  obtained  a  merited  repu- 
tation. Among  the  poets  of  that  time  may  be  reckoned  Oliver  of 
La  Marche,  Alain  Chartiers,  historiographer  of  France,  and  lastly, 
Francois  Villon,  who  introduced  the  burlesque  style.  These  men 
would  without  doubt  have  contributed  to  give  to  French  poetry  a 
national  stamp  if  the  greatest  event  of  the  fifteenth  century  had  not 
turned  their  minds  in  another  direction.  The  taking  of  Constan- 
tinople disseminated  throughout  the  whole  of  Europe  the  literary 
wealth  of  Greece  and  Rome,  and  the  powerful  genius  of  antiquity 
placed  his  yoke  upon  the  almost  newly-born  genius  of  modern 

Commerce  and  industry  also  aboiit  this  period  made  happy  progress 

in  France  as  well  as  in  the  rest  of  Europe.     The  require- 

!Prosrr6SS  or 

commerce  and  ments  of  nations  were  better  known ;  they  knew  the  value 
of  the  different  productions,  and  the  extent  of  their  con- 
sumption in  each  country ;  men  who  were  well  informed  and  pos- 
sessed of  large  capital  could  establish  factories  in  all  places  of  mer- 
chandise, and  embrace  Europe  and  Asia  in  commercial  speculations. 
It  was  in  this  manner  that  Cosmo  of  Medicis  at  Florence,  and  Jacques 
Cceur,  acquired  their  riches.  Lastly,  the  time  approached  for  the 
great  discoveries  which  were  about  to  make  the  second  half  of  the 
fifteenth  century  famous,  and  to  which  the  darkness  of  preceding 
ages  gave  still  more  brilliancy. 

"  It  is  the  distinctive  character  of  this  epoch,"   says  an    eminent 

historian,  "  that  it  was  employed  in  order  to  convert 

General  conside-    primitive  Europe  into  modern  Europe ;  in  this  consists 


its  importance  and  historical  interest.  If  we  did  not 
consider  it  from  this  point  of  view — if  we  only  sought,  above  all, 
what  came  from  it,  we  should  not  only  misunderstand  it,  but  should 
leave  it  promptly.     Seen  by  itself,  in  fact,  and  in  part  of  its  results, 

1422-1461]  GENERAL   CONSIDERATIONS.  305 

it  is  a  time  without  character,  a  time  when  confusion  went  on 
increasing  without  any  one  perceiving  the  causes — a  time  of  move- 
ment without  direction,  of  agitation  without  results.  Royalty, 
nobility,  clergy,  and  bourgeois,  all  the  elements  of  social  order,  seemed 
to  turn  in  the  same  circle,  equally  incapable  of  progress  or  rest. 
They  made  attempts  of  all  kinds :  all  failed ;  they  tried  to  settle 
governments,  to  establish  public  liberty;  they  tried  even  religious 
reform :  nothing  was  done — nothing  was  finished.  If  ever  the 
human  race  appeared  devoted  to  an  agitated  yet  stationary  destiny, 
to  a  ceaseless  yet  fruitless  work,  it  was  from  the  thirteenth  to  the 

fifteenth    century Considered,   on  the  contrary,    in   its 

connection  with  that  which  followed,  this  period  is  bright  and 
animated  ;  we  can  discover  in  it  a  harmony,  a  direction,  and  a  pro- 
gression ;  its  unity  and  its  interest  lie  in  the  slow  and  concealed 
work  which  was  accomplished  in  it."* 

*  Ghiizot's  Histoire  Generate  de  la  Civilisation  en  Europe. 


306  LOUIS  XI.  [Book  III.  Chap.  II. 




Louis  XI.  was  thirty-eight  years  old  when  he  mounted  the  throne. 
Policy  of  Louis  His  reign  formed  an  epoch,  not  only  by  the  consider- 
able extension  which  the  kingdom  obtained  under  him 
and  by  the  strengthening  of  the  absolute  power  of  the  monarch, 
but  also  on  account  of  the  new  tendency  of  European  policy  and 
of  the  powerful  impulse  which  the  character  of  Louis  was  able  to 
impress  upon  it.  The  art  of  negotiation  was  up  to  that  time 
almost  unknown ;  the  sovereigns,  governed  by  their  blind  and 
violent  passions,  always  sacrificed  to  the  present  the  interests  of  the 
future,  and  force  decided  everything.  Policy,  however,  began  to  be 
for  them  an  object  of  serious  study.  Louis  was  the  first  who 
converted  diplomacy  into  a  system.  Endowed  with  a  subtle  and 
astute  mind,  he  made  this  art  the  study  of  his  whole  life,  and 
contributed  more  than  any  other  to  the  substitution  in  politics  of 
the  power  of  intelligence  for  the  authority  of  force.  But  he  mis- 
understood all  the  principles  of  morality,  and  to  his  contempt  for 
them  was  falsely  attributed  the  greater  part  of  his  success.  The 
policy  which  rests  upon  perfidy  is  as  fruitful  in  calamities  as  that 
which  only  recognizes  brutal  violence  as  law.  The  custom  which 
caused  Louis  XL  to  deceive  always,  often  became  fatal  to  him ;  and 
he  was  indebted  for  the  greater  part  of  his  advantages  over  his 
enemies  neither  to  his  falsehoods  nor  his  treacheries.  He  triumphed 
over  all,  because  he  knew  how  to  comprehend  his  true  interests,  to 
understand  men,  to  appreciate  merit  and  to  use  it,  and  because,  em- 
bracing in  his  projects  the  future  and  the  present,  he  submitted 
them  nearly  always  to  the  calculations  of  reflection  and  of  con- 
summate prudence.    Finally,  it  may  be  said  that  he  drew  upon  himself 

1461-1483]  HIS   FIRST  ACTS.  307 

his  reverses  by  his  vices,  and  that  he  obtained  his  most  brilliant 
successes  by  his  intellectual  qualities,  when  allied  with  wholesome 

Feudalism  had  regained  all  its  power  during  the  long  anarchy  of 
the  preceding  reigns,  and  Charles  VII.  himself,  while  situation  of 
he  held  in  respect  the  Dukes  of  Brittany  and  Burgundy 
and  the  Count  of  Anjou,  the  great  vassals  of  the  crown,  did  not 
obtain  from  them  any  pledge  of  obedience.  The  houses  of  these 
three  princes  vied  with  the  royal  house  in  power  and  in  splendour. 
That  of  Burgundy  was  mistress  of  Burgundy,  of  Flanders,  of  the 
Low  Country  and  of  the  Free  County,  and  was  the  richest  in  Europe ; 
that  of  Anjou,  which  had  lost  the  throne  of  Naples  but  had  acquired 
Lorraine  by  marriage,  possessed,  besides,  Maine  and  Provence,  and 
enclosed  the  domains  of  the  King  in  its  vast  possessions.  The 
south  groaned  under  the  tyranny  of  the  counts  of  Albret,  of  Foix, 
of  Armagnac,  and  of  a  crowd  of  other  noblemen  who,  for  the  most 
part,  exercised  a  despotic  and  absolute  power  throughout  their  lands. 
The  feudal  system  was  then  the  greatest  obstacle  to  the  tendencies 
which  drew  together  the  people  who  inhabited  the  same  soil,  and 
to  the  healthy  progress  of  national  sentiments ;  it  had  become  at 
last  the  scourge  of  Europe,  which  it  had  saved  in  the  tenth  century. 
The  glory  of  striking  it  a  mortal  blow  belongs  to  Louis  XI. 

This  prince,  who  from  being  a  fugitive  became  a  kitig,  was 
informed  of  the  plots  hatched  against  him  in  the  court  of  his 
father,  and  also  of  the  hatred  which  the  most  influential  men  in 
the  kingdom  bore  him,  and,  according  to  the  expression  of  a  cele- 
brated writer,  he  only  saw  in  the  opening  of  his  reign  the 
commencement  of  his  vengeance.*  He  believed  that  he  had  need 
of  the  support  of  the  people  against  his  enemies,  and  promised  at 
his  accession  to  diminish  the  taxes  and  to  submit  the  national 
charges  to   the   approval    of  the    States- General.     But   „   . 

°  rr  First  acts  of 

his  liberalities  towards  those  whom   he  wished  to  gain  LouisXL 
exhausted  the  treasury ;  the  taxes  were  augmented,  and  the  States- 
General  left  in  oblivion.     Some   insurrections  broke   out,  but  Louis 
knew    how  to    suppress  them.     One  of   the    first    acts    of  his  reign 
was  the  abolition  of  the  Pragmatic  Sanction,  which  he  decreed   in 

*  Montesquieu, 

x  2 

308  LEAGUE   OF  THE   PUBLIC    GOOD.  [Book  III.  Chap.  II. 

hatred  of  the  institutions  of  his  father ;  at  the  end  of  his  life, 
however,  he  re-established  the  principal  dispositions.  Another  ordi- 
nance, apparently  of  futile  interest,  profoundly  irritated  the  nobility. 
The  King,  passionately  fond  of  the  chase,  and  jealous  of  his  pleasures 
as  of  his  authority,  forbade  that  sport  in  the  royal  forests ;  and 
soon  after  he  added  to  this  edict  others  which  afforded  new  grounds 
for  discontent.  Economical  himself,  and  strict  in  the  administration 
of  finances,  he  did  not  permit  them  to  be  pillaged  by  the  princes 
of  his  family.  His  yoke  bore  equally  upon  all ;  his  active  vigilance 
surveyed  at  the  same  time  each  part  of  the  kingdom,  and  he  would 
not  suffer  any  tyrant  in  the  country  but  himself. 

The  irritation  became  general ;  the  princes  wished  for  apanages 
which  would  render  them  independent ;  the  nobles  demanded  dig- 
nities and  gold  :  they  wished  back  with  all  their  hearts  the  anarchy 
of  Charles  VI.,  and  leagued  themselves  against  Louis  XI.  He,  in 
seeking  to  divide  his  two  most  formidable  neighbours,  Francis  II., 
Duke  of  Brittany,  and  the  Count  of  Charolais,  son  of  the  Duke  of 
Burgundy,  excited  them  against  himself.  He  had  perfidiously  given 
to  both  of  them  the  government  of  Normandy,  in  the  hope  of  seeing 
them  dispute  ;  however,  they  united  together  against  him.  The  resent- 
ment of  the  Count  of  Charolais  was,  however,  more  vehement  because 
Louis  had  been  loaded  with  benefits  by  Philip  the  Good,  his  father. 
This  count,  who  was  afterwards  Charles  the  Bash,  and  one  of  the 
most  powerful  sovereigns  in  Europe,  offered  a  striking  contrast  to 
Louis  XL  Violent  and  untamable,  always  governed  by  pride  or 
ano-er,  he  showed  himself  during  the  whole  of  his  life  the  most 
ardent  and  the  most  terrible  enemy  of  the  monarch  his   sovereign. 

It  was  around  him  and  the  Duke  of  Brittany  that  the 
Public  Good,         princes   of  the  royal   blood   rallied,    together  with  the 

great  nobles  who  were  discontented,  in  the  number  of 
whom  must  be  reckoned  those  who  had  obtained  more  glory  under 
the  late  King,  and  who  had  served  him  better*— Dunois,  Saint  Pol, 
Tanneguy-Duchatel,  and  Antoine  of  Chabannes,  Count  of  Dammartin. 
They  gave  to  their  league  the  name  of  the  League  of  the  Public  Good, 
Battle  of  Mont  anc^  place(3-  a^  their  head  the  Duke  of  Berry,  Charles 
lhery,  1465.  0f  France)  brother  of  the  King,  who  claimed  Normandy 

from  him  as  an  apanage.     The  bloody  battle   of   Montlhery,  where 

1461-1483]  POLICY   OF   LOUIS   XL  309 

Louis  left  the  field  of  battle  to  the  Count  of  Charolais,  was   soon 
followed  by  the  rising  of  Normandy  in  favour  of  the  princes. 

The  King,  seeing  himself  the  weakest,  laid  down  his  arms  and  had 
recourse  to  negotiations.  No  one  possessed  better  than  he  the  art  of 
gaining  hearts  by  insinuating  and  flattering  words.  He  feigned  to 
stifle  his  just  anger,  to  forget  all  his  injuries,  and  signed  the  treaty 
of  Oonflans,  by  which  he  gave  Normandy  to  his  brother,  Treat  f 
and  satisfied  the  exorbitant  pretensions  of  the  princes.  Conflans> 1465- 
Louis  ceded  to  them  towns,  vast  domains,  and  governments,  and  piled 
up  dignities  upon  the  rebel  nobles.  Saint  Pol  was  named  Constable. 
But  Louis  only  gave  with  one  hand  to  take  back  with  the  other  when 
the  moment  should  arrive.  He  studied  his  enemies,  and  from  that 
time  his  principal  care  was  to  gain  at  any  price  the  most  skilful,  and 
to  divide  the  others  and  crush  them  separately.  It  was  thus  that  he 
attached  to  himself  the  Duke  of  Bourbon  and  many  ministers  of  his 
father,  among  others  the  Chancellor,  Juvenal  des  Ursins,  and  the 
celebrated  Count  of  Dammartin.  He  needed  the  support  of  the 
nation,    and  convoked  the   States- General  at  Tours   in   _.  .     _,        ,  . 

7  States-General  of 

1468  ;  however,  he  only  had  recourse  to  the  people  when   Tours,  1468. 
he  knew  that  they  would  have  no   other  will  than  his   own.     Louis 
opened  the  States  in  person  ;  and  the  Chancellor,  after  having  pointed 
out  to   the  deputies  "the  great  wish  which  the  monarch  had  always 
and  had   still  of   augmenting  and  increasing  the  kingdom   and  the 
crown,"  spoke  strongly  against  the  enemies  of  the  nation,  who  had 
caused  the  King's  own  brother  to  serve  as  an  instrument  for  their 
ambition,  and  only  sought  to  enfeeble  the  State  by  dismembering  it. 
Louis  was  obeyed ;  never  did  States   show  themselves  more  docile. 
They  annulled,  according  to  the  wish  of  the  King,  the 
treaty  of  Conflans,  retaking  Normandy  from  Charles  of  treaty  of  Con- 
France,  and  declaring  that  the  prince  ought  to  consider 
himself   satisfied  with  his   income  of  twelve   thousand   livres,  fixed 
by  Charles  VII.  as  the  apanage  of  the  princes  of  the  blood  royal. 
Louis,  having  obtained  from  them  all  that  he  wished,  was  anxious  to 
dismiss  them.     They  only  remained  in  assembly  for  eight  days ;  and 
it  was  remarked,  as  a  symptom  of  the  progress  of  the  bourgeoisie, 
that  the  three  orders  had  voted  in  common     This  was  the  only  con- 
vocation of  the  States- General  under  this  reign.     Louis  XI.  distrusted 
public  liberty  quite  as  much  as  feudal  power. 

310  TEEATY   OF  PEEEONNE.  [Book  III.  Chap.  II. 

Charles    of  France,    irritated   at   losing   Normandy,    nnited  again 
New  league  of       with    the   Duke    of    Brittany    and    with    Charles    the 

the  Princes 

Rash,    who    had    become  Duke    of   Burgundy   by  the 
death  of  Philip  the  Good,  his  father.     All  three  treated  with  England 


Treat  of  An-  against  France,  and  invited  King  Edward  IV.  to  trans- 
cems,  1468.  port  an  army  into  the  kingdom.     Louis  foresaw  their 

attack ;  he  marched  unexpectedly  against  the  Duke  of  Brittany,  who, 
separated  from  his  allies,  and,  seized  with  fear,  submitted  by  the 
treaty  of  Ancenis. 

The  King  then  sought  to  gain  over  his  people ;  he  gave  charters 
to  many  of  the  towns,  protected  commerce  by  wise  ordinances,  and 
reorganized  the  national  militia  of  Paris,  composed  of  all  the  men 
between  sixteen  and  sixty,  of  whom  he  made  a  list ;  it  numbered 
eighty  thousand  men,  arranged  under  sixteen  banners,  and  was 
placed  in  possession  of  the  right  to  elect  its  own  officers.  Louis 
endeavoured  afterwards  to  find  allies  in  the  states  of  his  most 
powerful  enemy.  The  rich,  populous,  and  manufacturing  towns  of 
Flanders  were  prompt  to  revolt  against  the  cruel  violences  of  the 
Duke  of  Burgundy,  their  sovereign.  Ghent,  Bruges,  and  Liege  were 
distinguished  amongst  them  for  their  power  and  their  energy  in 
seeking  after  liberty.  Louis  sent  an  emissary  into  the  latter  town, 
already  irritated  against  the  bishop,  its  sovereign  prince,  allied  with 
Charles,  and  excited  it  to  revolt,  promising  his  support.  In  the  mean- 
time, in  order  the  better  to  deceive  the  Duke  and  to  lull  his  sus- 
picions, he  demanded  from  him  a  safe- conduct,  obtained  it,  and, 
trusting  too  much  to  his  own  seductive  manners,  he  went  close  to  his 
enemy  at  Peronne.  Scarcely  had  he  arrived  when  the  revolt  of 
Liege  broke  out.  Charles  learnt  that  the  populace  had  given  itself 
up  to  the  most  horrible  excesses  ;  that  the  bishop,  Louis  of  Bourbon, 
his  relation  and  his  ally,  was  massacred,  and  that  Louis  XI.  was  the 
author  of  the  sedition.  At  this  news  his  rage  knew  no  bounds  ;  he 
held  the  King  prisoner,  and  threatened  to  kill  him.  Louis  submitted 
Treat  of  Pe"  ^°  everytlnng  in  order  to  get  out  of  his  peril ;  he  signed 
ronne,  1468.  jfcQ  treaty  of  Peronne,  which  took  away  from  him  all 

sovereignty  in  the  states  of  Burgundy,  and  gave  to  his  brother 
Champagne  and  Brie  as  an  apanage ;  lastly,  he  oifered  to  the  Duke 
to  march  in  person  against  the  revolted  inhabitants  of  Liege.  On 
these  conditions  he  was  freed  ;  but  first,  he  was  witness  of  the  ruin  of 

1461-1483]  NEW  DANGERS   TO   LOUIS   XI.  311 

that  unfortunate  town  which  he  himself  had  incited  to  rebellion ;  he 
saw  a  part  of  its  inhabitants  massacred,  and  felicitated  Charles  on 
his  frightful  triumph. 

England  was  then  desolated  with  the  war  of  the  Two  Roses* 
Louis  XL,  having  taken  the  side  of  the  red  rose,  united  against 
Edward  IV.,  with  his  relative  Margaret  of  Anjou,  wife  of  Henry  VI. , 
and  with  the  famous  Earl  of  Warwick,  surname  d  the  King -maker. 
Edward,  conquered,  retired  to  Holland,  and  implored  the  assistance 
of  Duke  Charles,  his  brother-in-law.  Louis,  without  anxiety  on 
the  part  of  England,  followed  up  his  advantages.  He  convoked  an 
assembly  of  the  principal  inhabitants,  whom  he  took  care  to  choose 
himself,  says  Comines,  from  those  who  would  not  contradict  his 
wishes ;  and  he  caused  the  treaty  of  Peronne  to  be  annulled  by 
them,  under  the  pretext  that  Charles  had  onlv  imposed   _,.       .    .    , . 

'  . .       . r  J  r  The  principal  m- 

it  upon  him  by  causing  him  to  break  his  word.     Louis,   theiieXyof*1 
in.  disengaging  himself  from  his  obligations,  created  for   Perorme> 147U 
himself  new  dangers.     Edward  IV.,   assisted  by   Charles  the  Rash, 
had  retaken  his   crown ;   Henry  "VI.  and  his   son  were   „      , 

'  J  New  dangers  to 

assassinated  ;  the  Duke  of  Burgundy  called  into  France  Louls  XL 
the  English  monarch,  and  promised  Marie,  his  daughter  and  heiress, 
to  Charles  of  France,  Duke  of  Guienne,  who  had  recently  received 
that  province  from  Louis  XL  as  an  apanage.  The  Duke  of  Brittany 
renewed  his  intrigues ;  and  the  Constable  Saint  Pol  sold  his  services 
to  the  two  parties,  seeking  to  raise  himself  at  the  expense  of  one  or 
the  other. 

The  King  thus  saw  himself  threatened  with  a  new  storm,  when  his 
brother  fell  ill,  and  died  after  some  months  of  suffering.  Louis  was 
accused    of  poisoning  him,    and  did   not   deny  it,   and   _  ._     .    ..  . 

x  °  J  Sudden  death  to 

his  memory  is  stained  with  the  crime.  The  Duke  of  hls  brother. 
Burgundy  soon  caused  his  troops  to  march  into  Picardy,  massacred 
the  inhabitants  of  the  town  of  Nesle,  and  spread  terror  before  his 
.steps.  But  the  admirable  defence  of  Beauvais,  where  Jeanne 
Hachette  immortalized  herself  by  her  courage,  arrested  his  army, 
while   the    King  negotiated   separately   with   each   of  the  rebellious 

*  This  name  was  given  to  the  Civil  War  because  the  two  houses  which  contested  the 
throne,  those  of  York  and  Lancaster,  both  issuing  from  Edward  III.,  bore  in  their 
coat  of  arms,  the  first  a  white  rose,  and  the  second  a  red  rose. 

312  VENGEANCE  OF  LOUIS  XI.  [Book  III.  Chap.  II. 

princes,  and  attached  to  himself  by  his  liberality  the  two  cleverest 
men  of  their  party,  the  Lord  of  Lescun,  favourite  of  the  Duke  of 
Brittany,  and  Philip  de  Comines,  confidant  of  the  Duke  of  Burgundy. 
The  manoeuvres  of  Louis  spread  division  among  the  chiefs  of  the 
league :  the  Duke  of  Brittany  signed  a  new  truce,  and  the  Duke  of 
Burgundy  marched  against  the  Constable  Saint  Pol,  who  had  seized  on 
his  own  account  the  town  of  Saint  Quentin.  The  King  took  advantage 
from  that  moment  of  every  opportunity  to  crush  some  of  his  enemies. 
He  caused  the  Duke  of  Alencon  to  be  tried  and  condemned  to  death, 
for  the  second  time,  by  the  Parliament  of  Paris.     The 

Vengeance  of  '      J 

Louis  xi.  Cardinal  La  Balue  owed  his  fortune  to  Louis  XL,  and 

had  betrayed  him ;  he  was  shut  up  in  an  iron  cage,  eight  feet  square, 
invented  by  the  Cardinal  himself,  and  there  he  remained*  a  prisoner 
for  ten  years.  Lastly,  Cardinal  Albi,  John  Goffredi,  formerly  Bishop 
of  Arras,  and  a  famous  inquisitor  in  Flanders,  where  he  had  perpetrated 
atrocious  barbarities,  was  ordered  by  the  King  to  punish  the  guilty 
Count  of  Armagnac,  one  of  the  supporters  of  the  League  of  the  Public 
Good,  and  who,  in  marrying  his  own  sister,  had  added  incest  to  all 
his  other  crimes.  Besieged  in  the  town  of  Lectoure,  he  gave  himself 
up  to  the  Cardinal,  who  had  promised  hint  safety  for  his  person,  and 
who  caused  him  immediately  to  be  stabbed  before  the  eyes  of  his  wife, 
who  was  enceinte ;  he  caused  her  to  be  poisoned ;  "and  the  dreadful 
Goffredi,  wishing  to  exterminate  every  witness  of  his  perjury,  gave 
orders  that  all  the  inhabitants  of  Lectoure  should  be  massacred,  and 
the  town  itself  given  up  to  the  names. 

Edward  IV.,  King  of  England,  drawn  over  by  the  Duke  of 
Brittany,  was  then  in  France  with  a  numerous  army;  Charles,  his 
ally,  seconded  him  badly,  and  the  English  remained  isolated  in  the 
kingdom.  Louis  XL,  always  more  prompt  to  negotiate  than  to 
fight,  gained  over  by  his  bribes  the  confidence  of  Edward,  and  was 
prompt  in  signing  with  him  a  truce  of  nine  years.  The  King  gave 
seventy- five  thousand  crowns,  ready  money,  to  Edward, 

Mercantile  J  "*  * 

truces,  1475.  an(j  engaged  to  pay  sixty  thousand  every  year  until  a 

projected  marriage  between  the  Dauphin  and  the  daughter  of  the 
English  monarch  could  be  accomplished.  Charles,  abandoned  by 
the  English,  also  signed  with  Louis  a  truce  for  nine  years.  Each 
of  these  two  enemies  sacrificed  on  that  occasion  those  on  whom  his 

1461-1483]  CONQUEST   OP   LORRAINE.  313 

adversary  wished  to  take  vengeance :  Charles  delivered  to  the 
scaffold  the  Constable  Saint  Pol;  Louis  abandoned  his  ally,  Rene, 
Duke  of  Lorraine,  whose  inheritance  Charles  the  Rash  coveted.  Con- 
temporaries saw  a  matter  of  traffic  only  in  these  two  truces,  and  they 
were  called  the  Mercantile  Truces. 

Sovereign  of  the  duchy  of  Burgundy,  of  the  Free  County,*  of 
Hainaut,  of  Flanders,  of  Holland,  and  of  Ghieldre,  Charles  wished,  by 
joining  to  it  Lorraine,  a  portion  of  Switzerland,  and  the  inheritance  of 
old  King  Rene,  Count  of  Provence,  to  recompose  the  ancient  kingdom 
of  Lorraine,  such  as  it  had  existed  under  the  Carlovingian  dynasty; 
and  nattered  himself  that  by  offering  his  daughter  to  Maximilian, 
son  of  Frederick  III.,  he  would  obtain  the  title  of  king. 
Deceived  in  his  hopes,  the  Duke  of  Burgundy  tried  means  to  take 
away  Lorraine  from  the  young  Rene.  That  province  was  necessary 
to  him,  in  order  to  ioin  his  northern  states  with  those    „         ,   „ 

'  o  Conquest  of 

in  the  south.  The  conquest  was  rapid,  and  Nancy  cSStheRasii 
opened  its  gates  to  Charles  the  Rash ;  but  it  was  14/6, 
reserved  for  a  small  people,  already  celebrated  for  their  heroic  valour 
and  by  their  love  of  liberty,  to  beat  this  powerful  man.  Irritated 
against  the  Swiss,  who  had  braved  him,  Charles  crossed  over  the  Jura, 
besieged  the  little  town  of  Granson,  and,  in  despite  of  a  capitulation, 
caused  all  the  defenders  to  be  hanged  or  drowned.     At 

.  Battles  of  Gran- 

this   news   the    eight    cantons   which    then    composed   sou  and  of 

°         t  r  Morat,  1476. 

the  Helvetian  republic  arose,  and  under  the  very 
walls  of  the  town  which  had  been  the  theatre  of  his  cruelty  they 
attacked  the  Duke  and  dispersed  his  troops.  Some  months  later, 
supported  by  young  Rene  of  Lorraine,  despoiled  of  his  inheritance, 
they  exterminated  a  second  Burgundian  army  before  Morat.  Charles, 
vanquished,  reassembled  a  third  army,  and  marched  in  the  midst 
of  winter  against  Nancy,  which  had  refallen  into  the  hands  of  the 
Swiss  and  Lorraines.  It  was  there  that  he  perished,  betrayed  by  his 
mercenary  soldiers,  and  overpowered  by  numbers.  His  corpse  was 
found  naked  and  pierced  with  wounds,  lying  in  a  frozen  Death  of  Charles 

tlic  Rtisli  before 

pool ;  u-iid  the  people  learned  with  transports  of  delight  Nancy,  1477. 
that  they  were  freed  from  a  tyrant  as  cruel  as  he  was  formidable. 

*  The   imperial   county  of  Burgundy   had   acquired   by  its  strong  position    in    the 
mountains  a  kind  of  independence,  from  which  came  the  name  of  the  Free  County. 

314  TREATY  OF  ARRAS.         [Book  III.  Chap.  II. 

At  this  news  Louis  immediately  seized  the  duchy  of  Burgundy, 
and  many  fortified  towns  on  the  Somme,  on  the  pretext  that  they 
were  masculine  fiefs,  and  he  claimed  the  guardianship  of  the  daughter 
of  Charles,  Mary  of  Burgundy.  His  cruelty  excited  him  in  propor- 
tion as  his  security  increased.  The  Duke  of  Nemours,  of  a  younger 
branch  of  the  Armagnacs,  formerly  an  accomplice  of  his  enemies, 
was  his  prisoner.     The  Kino-  caused  him  to  be  tried  by 

Execution  of  the  ... 

Duke  of  Ne-        the    Parliament,  to  which  he  added  commissioners  en- 


riched  beforehand  with  the  spoils  of  the  unfortunate 
Duke.  Nemours  was  condemned  to  death,  and  Louis  ordered  that 
his  children  should  be  placed  upon  the  scaffold  during  the  execution 
of  their  father  and  be  sprinkled  with  his  blood.  He  caused  them 
afterwards  to  be  thrown  into  dungeons,  where  they  were  subjected 
to  horrible  tortures. 

The  perfidy  and  ferocity  of  the  King  raised  all  the  new  states 
which  he  had  seized  against  him.  Soon  a  powerful  enemy  threatened 
him.  This  was  Maximilian  of  Austria,  recently  united  to  Mary  of 
Burgundy,  and  who  claimed  her  heritage.  The  bloody  and  in- 
Battie  of  Gui  -  decisive  battle  of  Gruinnegate,  given  in  1479  by  the 
negate,  1479.  French  to  the  Flemish  and  Burgundian  troops  of 
Maximilian,  was  followed  by  a  long  truce ;  and  four  years  later,  on 
the  death  of  Mary,  young  Marguerite  of  Austria,  her  daughter, 
then  two  years  old,  was  promised  to  the  Dauphin.  The  treaty  of 
Arras,  concluded  by  Louis  with  the  states  of  Flanders  and  the 
Treat  of  Arras  Emperor,  confirmed  to  him  the  possession  of  the  duchy 
uvo  Burgundies  °^  Burgundy,  of  the  Free  County  or  county  of  Bur- 
^?h°the  crown  g,imdy,  an(^  ^ne  counties  of  Macon,  Charolais,  Auxerre, 
1482'  and  Artois. 

Old  Rene  of  Anjou,  sovereign  of  Lorraine  and  Provence  and 
titular  King  of  Naples,  had  died  a  few  years  before.  This  prince, 
whose  goodness,  generosity,  and  love  of  fetes  had  gained  for  him 
the  name  of  "  Grood  King  Bene,"  had  for  a  long  period  abdicated 
the  ducal  crown  of  Lorraine  in  favour  of  Rene,  the  son  of  his 
eldest  daughter.  He  left  by  will  the  rest  of  his  estates  to  his  nephew 
Charles  of  Maine,  the  last  male  scion  of  the  second  house  of  Anjou. 
He  only  survived  his  uncle  a  short  time ;  he  died  without  children, 
and  bequeathed  his  domains  in  France  and  his  rights  to  the  crown 

1461-1483]  SUPEESTITION   OF  LOUIS  XI.  315 

of  Naples  to  Louis  XI.,  who  had  already  obtained  from  Reunion  of  the 

1  states  of  the 

the  King*  of  Aragon,  as  a  pledge  for  a  loan  of  two  hun-   second  house  of 

s  &       '  .  Anjou  with  the 

dred  thousand  crowns,  Roussillon  and  Cerdagne.  crown,  i48i. 

However,  the  King  was  growing  old,  and  trembled  at  the  thought 
of  dying.  After  having  deceived  every  one,  he  sought  to  deceive 
himself.     Free  from  the  cares  which  politics  had  given 

Terrors  and 

him,  he  appeared  to  be  consumed  by  a  fierce  and  gloomy  superstition  of 
melancholy.  Shut  up  in  his  chateau  of  Plessis-lez- 
Tours,  his  ordinary  residence,  dreading  the  approach  of  his  confidants 
and  the  members  of  his  family,  he  redoubled  his  precautions  and 
executions.  Ten  thousand  mantraps  were  disseminated  through 
the  avenues  of  the  chateau,  round  which  wandered  unceasingly 
the  grand  prevot,  Tristan  the  Hermit.  Every  suspected  man  was 
hanged  or  drowned  without  trial.  Scotch  archers  watched  on  the 
walls  and  struck  fatally  all  those  who  approached  within  reach  of 
their  arrows  ;  and,  while  the  neighbourhood  of  the  royal  residence 
resounded  with  the  cries  of  so  many  victims,  the  monarch,  whose 
fanatical  devotion  equalled  his  cruelty,  multiplied  his  pilgrimages, 
despoiled  his  people  in  order  to  enrich  the  churches,  caused  relics  to 
be  brought  at  great  expense  from  all  parts,  and  prayed  to  God  and  the 
saints  to  prolong  his  miserable  life.  The  Virgin,  above  all,  was  the 
object  of  his  particular  worship  ;  he  invented  for  her  the  prayer  called 
the  Angelus  ;  he  created  her  Countess  of  Boulogne ;  and  he  did  not 
meditate  an  act  of  perfidy  or  cruelty  without  having  implored  her 
assistance  first.  He  was  the  first  who  bore  constantly  the  name  of 
Very  Christian;  and  no  man  showed  more  clearly  to  what  aberration 
a  superstitious  faith  separated  from  all  morality  will  lead.  No  oath 
was  sacred  for  him  unless  it  had  been  taken  under  the  cross  of 
Saint  L6,  which,  he  believed,  had  been  made  from  a  piece  of  the  true 
cross.  His  strange  superstitions  were  those  of  his  time,  when  it 
was  generally  supposed  that  certain  practical  externals  of  devotion 
were  sufficient  to  efface  the  most  enormous  crimes. 

This  King,   so  much  dreaded,  had  joined  to  the  crown  Berry,  the 
apanage  of  his  brother,   Provence,   the  duchy  of  Bur- 
gundy, Anjou,  Maine,  Ponthieu,  the  counties  of  Auxerre,    the  crown  under 
of  Macon,  Oharolais,  the  Free  County,  Artois,  Marche, 
Armagnac,    Cerdagne,   and   Roussillon.*      He    survived   the  greater 

*  The  seven  latter  provinces  did  not.  yet  remain  irrevocably  united  with.  France  :  one 

316  DEATH  OF  LOUIS  XI.  [Book  III.   Chap.  II. 

part  of  his  enemies,  and  when  the  tomb  had  closed  over  those  who 
conld  have  destroyed  his  work,  God,  whom  he  had  so  much  offended, 
did  not  permit  him  to  enjoy  it.  He  died  on  the  30th  of  Angnst,  1483, 
Death  of  leaving   the   sceptre   to  his  yonng   son,   Charles.     This 

Louis  xl,  1843.  q^h^  na(j  excited  his  suspicions.  Louis  had  left  him  in 
ignorance  in  order  that  his  ambition,  which  he  feared,  might  be  less 
dangerous ;  and  he  only  taught  him  one  single  sentence  of  the  Latin 
language,  which  was  a  faithful  resume  of  his  policy  : — ■ 

Qui  nescit  dissimulare  nescit  regnare.4' 

France  was  indebted   to    Louis   XI.    for   many   wise   institutions, 

nearly  all  created  with  the  design  of  centralizing  the  action  of  power 

and  beating  down  the  remainder  of  the  feudality.     To  attain  this 

end,  he  tried  to  establish  in  the  kingdom  uniformity  of 

Ordinances  of  .. 

Louis  xl   Posts,  customs,    and   of  weights    and   measures ;    he    created 

New  Parliaments.  #  m  ' 

posts,  establishing  on  the  great  roads  couriers,  solely 
destined  to  carry  public  news  to  the  King,  and  to  carry  his  orders  ;  he 
replaced  the  corps  of  free  archers  by  Swiss  corps,  and  some  privileged 
companies  by  a  Scotch  guard.  Louis  XL  instituted  three  new 
parliaments,  at  Grenoble,  Bordeaux,  and  Dijon.  The  most  remark- 
able edict  of  his  reign  is  that  which  declared  judicial  offices  to  be 

held  for  life.  That  edict  founded  the  independence 
Qf  the  judicial       and  the  power  of  the  parliaments,  but  was  not  inspired, 

however,  by  love  of  justice  ;  for  no  one  more  often  than 
Louis  XL  had  recourse  in  his  criminal  trials  to  commissions  and  to 
illegal  and  violent  means.  Under  his  reign  legislature  became  a 
science ;  the  schools  acquired  new  life,  and  letters  obtained  a  con* 
sideration  which  they  had  not  enjoyed  up  to  that  time. 

Louis  sought  for  a  long  time,  but  in  vain,  to  gain  the  hearts  of  the 
people  by  the  simplicity  of  his  manners  and  the  familiarity  of  his 
conversations  with  men  of  humble  condition.  He  was  more  hated 
than  any  of  his  contemporary  princes ;  not  that  they  were  much  less 
perfidious  or  cruel,  but  they  appeared  to  commit  evil  by  a  blind  and 
brutal  instinct,  while  Louis  was  ferocious  in  cold  blood,  and  submitted 
crime  to  calculation.     Jealous  of  all  superiority,  he  placed  round  him 

part  was  given  anew  in  apanage,  and  the  other  part  restored  to  foreign  sovereigns,  and 
only  returned  one  "by  one  to  the  Crown  of  France. 

*  "  He  who  knows  not  how  to  dissimulate  knows  not  how  to  reign." 

1461-1483]  INVENTION    OF   PRINTING.  317 

only  obscure  men.  John  Cottier,  his  physician ;  Olivier  le  Dain,  his 
barber  ;  and  Tristan  the  Hermit,  the  grand  prevot,  whom  he  called 
his  gossip, — these  were  his  confidants.  There  had  not  been  a  great 
man  during  his  reign ;  but  history  has  preserved  to  us  the  beautiful 
answer  addressed  to  the  King  by  the  first  president,  John  de  la 
"Vaquerie.  That  magistrate,  considering  that  a  royal  edict  was  con- 
trary to  the  public  welfare,  presented  himself  before  Louis  XI.  at 
the  head  of  his  corps.  "  What  do  you  wish  ?  "  said  the  King  to 
him.  "  The  loss  of  our  offices,"  answered  La  Vaquerie,  "and  even 
death,  rather  than  betray  our  consciences." 

Printing,  which  was  about  to  change  the  face  of  the  world,  was 
invented  in  Germany  during  this  reign.  That  invention,  of  which 
many  countries  dispute  the  honour,  is  generally  attri-  _.  ,.  n  f 
buted  to  John  Gutenburg,  of  Mayence.  Louis  XL,  at  rnntin=- 
the  request  of  two  theologians,  caused  the  first  French  printing  press 
to  be  established  at  Sorbonne.  He  gave  encouragement  to  scholars, 
founded  universities,  and  opened  manv  schools  of  law 

...  Schools. 

and   medicine.       The  learned  Philip   of   Comines,    who 

lived  for  a  long  time  in  his  intimacy,  was  the  historian  of  his  reign. 

Louis   XL    also   protected   commerce,    created    manufactories   for 
precious  stuffs,  respected  the  value  of  the  coinage,  and   „ 

r  -  Commerce  and 

permitted  the  nobles  to  devote  themselves  to  commerce  industlT- 
without  derogating  from  their  position  ;  but,  although  he  lived  without 
pomp,  and  exercised  towards  himself  a  sordid  parsimony,  he  exhausted 
his  kingdom  by  gifts  to  those  whom  he  wished  to  gain,  to  corrupt, 
or  to  maintain  faithful.  The  taxes,  which  only  rose  in  the  time  of 
Charles  VII.  to  eighteen  hundred  thousand  livres,  were   T,  .  . 

°  liaising  of  the 

raised  under  his  successor  to  four  millions  seven  hundred   taxes- 
thousand,  a  prodigious  sum  for  a  time  when  public  credit  did  not 
exist,  and  when  agriculture,  commerce,  and  industry,  the  sources  of 
public  wealth,  were  still  in  their  infancy. 

The  principal  work  of  Louis  XL  was  the  abasement  of  the  second 
feudality,  which  had  raised  itself   on  the  ruins  of  the     - 

-i-ii  i  -,    Abasement  of 

first,  and  which,   without  him,   would  have  replunged   the  nobles  under 

.  .  r        o         Louis  XI. 

Prance   into    anarchy.       The    chiefs    of    that    feudality 

were,    however,    more   formidable,     since,    for   the    most   part,    they 

belonged   to   the   blood   royal    of   Prance.     Their   powerful   houses, 

318  FOREIGN  POSSESSIONS   IN   FRANCE.  [Book  III.  Chap.  II. 

which  possessed  at  the  accession  of  that  prince  a  considerable  part 
of  the  kingdom,  were  those  of  Orleans,  Anion,  Burgundy, 

Feudal  houses.  &  '  Via 

and  Bonrbon.  They  found  themselves  much  weakened 
at  his  death,  and  dispossessed  in  great  part,  as  we  have  seen  in  the 
history  of  the  reign,  by  confiscations,  treaties,  gifts,  or  heritages. 
By  the  side  of  these  houses,  which  issued  from  that  of  France, 
there  were  others  whose  power  extended  still,  at  this  period,  in 
the  limits  of  France  proper,  over  vast  domains.  Those  of  Luxem- 
bourg and  La  Marck  possessed  great  wealth  upon  the  frontier  of  the 
north  ;  that  of  Yaudemont  had  inherited  Lorraine  and  the  duchy 
of  Bar ;  the  house  of  La  Tour  was  powerful  in  Auvergne ;  in  the 
south  the  houses  of  Foix  and  Albert  ruled,  the  first  in  the  valley  of 
Ariege,  the  second  between  the  Adour  and  the  Pyrenees.  In  the 
west  the  house  of  Brittany  had  guarded  its  independence  ;^but  the 
moment  approached  when  this  beautiful  province  was  to  be  for 
ever  united  with  the  crown.  Lastly,  two  foreign  sovereigns  held 
possessions  in  France :  the  Pope  had  Avignon  and  the  county 
Venaissin ;  and  the  Duke  of  Savoy  possessed,  between  the  Rhone  and 
the  Saone,  Bugey  and  Valromey.  The  time  was  still  distant  when 
the  royal  authority  would  be  seen  freely  exercised  through  every 
territory  comprised  in  the  natural  limits  of  the  kingdom.  But 
Louis  XL  did  much  to  attain  this  aim,  and  after  him  no  princely 
or  vassal  house  was  powerful  enough  to  resist  the  crown  by  its  own 
forces,  and  to  put  the  throne  in  peril. 

1483-1498]  CHARLES   VIII.  319 




Charles  VIII.,  son  and  successor  of  Louis  XI.,  mounted  the  throne 
at  the  age  of  thirteen  years.  He  had  two  sisters,  of  whom  the  eldest 
was  married  to  the  Lord  of  Beaujeu,  of  the  house  of  Bourbon.  She 
had  intellect,  and  certain  traits  of  the  character  of  her  father,  who 
had  preferred  her  to  his  other  children,  and  had  specially  charged 
her  and  her  husband  to  direct  the  new  King.  Jeanne,  his 
youngest,  not  favoured  by  nature,  was  married  to  her  cousin  the 
Duke  of  Orleans.  Charles  had  passed  a  part  of  his  solitary  youth  in 
the  chateau  of  Amboise,  where  long  illnesses  had  deformed  his 
body.  Kept  by  his  father  in  profound  ignorance  of  everything,  he 
did  not  know  how  to  fix  his  attention  on  anything.  Incapable  of 
application  and  of  discernment,  and  feeling  his  weakness,  he  lived 
for  a  long  time  in  guardianship,  though  he  was  fully  of  age  when 
his  father  died,  having  attained  his  fourteenth  year. 

Anne  of  Beaujeu,  profiting  by  the  influence  which  long  custom 
had  given  her  over  her  brother,  preserved  the  guardianship  of  his 
person,  and  took  possession  of  the  power  conjointly  with  her  husband. 
This  authority  was  soon  disputed  by  the  Dukes  of  Orleans  and 
Bourbon,  and  the  Count  of  Clermont,  all  three  princes  of  the  blood 
royal  and  chiefs  of  the  feudal  reaction.  The  first  was  heir  pre- 
sumptive to  the  throne,  and  the  second  eldest  brother  of  the  Lord 
of  Beaujeu.  At  last,  in  order  to  put  an  end.  to  their  dangerous 
rivalries,  with  one  accord  the  States-General  were  convoked  at 
Tours.  The  deputies  separated  themselves  into  six  com-  states.Generalof 
mittees  under  the  name  of  the  "  Six  Nations,"  France  (He  1484, 
de  France),  Burgundy,  Normandy,  Aquitaine,  Languedoc,  and  Langue- 
doil  (centre  province),  and  showed  themselves  in  most  respects 
worthy  of  the  States  of  1356  under  King   John.     They  laid   their 

320  MEETING  OF  THE    STATES- GENERAL.  [Boon  III.  Chap.  II. 

hands  on  all  abuses,  described  all  the  reforms,  and  invoked  the 
ancient  French  constitution,  which,  however,  was  only  written  in 
the  hearts  of  men,  and  existed  only  in  name.  The  order  of  the 
clergy  demanded  the  liberties  of  the  Grallican  Church,  contrary  to 
the  wish  of  the  bishops  ;  the  nobility  claimed  anything  that  could 
restore  to  it  its  ancient  military  importance ;  the  third  estate 
solicited  the  abolition  of  prevotal  justice,  the  diminution  of  the 
costs  of  law,  the  moderation  of  the  tolls,  and  the  surety  of  the  roads ; 
then,  presenting  the  picture  of  the  miseries  of  the  people,  it  entreated 
the  King  to  reduce  the  expenses,  and  above  all  to  abolish  the  land-tax 
(tattle),  affirming  that  the  inhabitants  of  many  of  the  districts  of 
France  had  fled  to  Brittany  or  to  England.  "  Others,"  they  said, 
"  were  dead  of  hunger  ;  others- in  their  despair  had  killed  their  wives 
and  children  and  then  themselves  ;  lastly,  a  great  number  who  had 
been  robbed  of  their  cattle  were  themselves  harnessed  to  the  waggon 
with  their  children  ;  many,  in  order  to  escape  the  seizure  of  their 
oxen,  only  dared  to  labour  in  the  fields  by  night." 

Louis  XI.  had  stretched  his  jurisdiction  too  strongly,  and  the  reac- 
tion broke  out  in  every  part.  The  whole  of  France,  by  the  mouth  of 
its  deputies,  demanded  a  return  to  the  government  of  Charles  VII. 
Emboldening  themselves  by  degrees,  the  States  dared  to  deliberate  on 
the  opportunity  of  a  permanent  council  of  guardianship,  taken  from 
their  midst,  to  be  charged  with  the  direction  of  affairs  in  the  name  of 
the  King.*  However,  when  threatened  by  the  princes,  the  States  grew 
weak,  and  committed  themselves  to  the  wisdom  of  the  infant  prince 
to  grant  their  requests.  They  named  the  Duke  of  Orleans  president  of 
the  council,  gave  the  second  place  to  the  Duke  of  Bourbon,  constable, 
and  gave  the  third  to  the  Lord  of  Beaujeu ;  they  decided  that  the 

*  It  was  in  the  course  of  this  discussion  that  an  orator,  the  Lord  of  La  Roche,  deputy 
of  the  nobility  of  Bui-gundy,  pronounced  the  following  words :  —  "Royalty  is  an  office, 
not  an  inheritance.  It  was  the  sovereign  people  who  originally  created  kings.  The 
state  is  the  affair  of  the  people  ;  sovereignty  does  not  belong  to  princes,  who  only 
exist  through  the  people.  Those  who  hold  the  power  by  force,  or  in  any  other  manner, 
without  the  consent  of  the  people,  are  usurpers  of  the  rights  of  another.  In  case  of 
minority  or  incapacity,  public  affairs  return  to  the  people,  who  retake  them  as  their 
own.  The  people — that  is,  the  universality  of  the  inhabitants  of  the  kingdom,  the 
States-General — are  the  depositaries  of  the  will  of  the  kingdom.  An  act  could  only  take 
the  force  of  law  by  the  sanction  of  the  States ;  nothing  is  holy,  nothing  solid,  without 
their  approval." — Journal  des  Etats-Generaux. 

1483-1498]  LEAGUE    OF   THE    PRINCES.  321 

States  alone  had  the  right  to  tax  the  people,  ordered  redactions  in 
the  army,  and  voted  a  tax  of  twelve  hnndred  thonsand  livres  for  two 
years,  declaring  that  at  the  expiration  of  that  period  it  wonld  be 
necessary  to  convoke  them  anew,  in  order  to  arrange  that  the  tax 
should  be  kept  np.  They  established  these  principles  without  taking 
any  of  the  guarantees  necessary  to  cause  them  to  be  observed.  Soon 
the  discussions  degenerated  into  shameful  quarrels  concerning  the 
redivision  of  the  land-tax  in  the  provinces.  Profiting  by  these 
divisions  and  the  lassitude  of  the  deputies,  the  princes  promised 
everything  for  the  King,  and  hastened  to  dismiss  the  States.  "No 
promise  was  kept,  and  none  of  the  wishes  expressed  heard  favourably. 
The  Duke  of  Orleans,  a  young  prince  less  occupied  with  business 
than  pleasure,  was  soon  removed  by  his  sister-in-law,  Anne,  from 
the  council,  of  which  the  deputies  had  named  him  president ;  and  the 
kingdom  was  governed  by  a  woman,  who  held  her  title 

Anne  of  Beaujeu 

to  power  neither  by  the  wish  of  the  States  nor  the  laws   governs  the  king- 

1  J  m  dom. 

of  the  kingdom.     The  wisdom  and  vigour  with  which 
this   princess    employed   the   royal   authority    caused   the   people   to 
forget  that  she  had  usurped  it;  but  a. league  was  formed  against  her, 
composed  of  the  princes  of  the  blood  roval :  at  their  head   T  ,  , 

r  x  J  League  of  the 

figured  the  Dukes  of  Orleans  and  Bourbon,  the  Prince  Princes>  U35- 
of  Orange,  Philip  de  Comines,  and  the  Count  of  Dunois,  son  of  the 
famous  bastard  of  that  name,  and  the  most  skilful  negotiator  of  his 
century.  These  confederates,  less  guilty  in  having  struggled  against 
the  usurpation  of  the  regency  than  in  opening  the  kingdom  to 
foreigners,  called  to  their  aid  Maximilian  of  Austria,  and  Francis  II. 
Duke  of  Brittany. 

That  province  was  a  prey  to  anarchy.  The  old  Duke  Francis  II., 
nearly  imbecile,  reigned  only  in  name.  He  had  given  all  his  con- 
fidence to  the  son  of  a  tailor  named  Landais,  whom  he  had  made 
his  treasurer  and  favourite.  The  nobles  of  Brittany,  irritated  by  the 
tyrannical  yoke  of  this  parvenu,  were  leagued  ^  together  against  him 
and  against  their  duke.  Anne  of  Beaujeu,  always  acting  in  the  nam 
of  the  King,  made  an  alliance  with  them.  She  united  herself  in  a 
similar  manner  with  Rene  of  Lorraine  and  the  Flemings,  who  had 
revolted  at  this  period  against  Maximilian  of  Austria,  their  sovereign. 

Richard   III.,    of    the   house    of  York,    then  reigned  in  England. 


322  END    OF    THE    WARS    OF    THE    KOSES.      [Book  III.  Chap.  III. 

Tutor  to  his  nephews  at  the  death  of  Edward  IV.,  he  had  commenced 
by  contesting  their  birth,  and  then  caused  them  to  be  killed.  The 
Dukes  of  Orleans  and  Brittany  united  themselves  with  this  monster, 
and  for  the  price  of  his  assistance  engaged  to  deliver  up  to  him 
Henry  of  Richmond,  a  prince  of  the  royal  race,  and  avenger  of  the 
Lancastrians,  who  was  then  taking*  refusre  on  the  continent.  Anne  of 
Beaujeu  supported  this  prince,  and  furnished  him  with  troops,  with 
which  he  disembarked  in  England.  Soon  the  battle  of  Bosworth, 
,  where    Richard   III.    perished,    assured   the   throne    to 

End  of  the  War  of       _  r  ' 

the  Two  Roses  in   kis   rival.       Henry    of    Richmond,    grandson   of    Owen 

England.  J  '     & 

Tudor  and  Catherine  of  Valois,*  was  recognized  King 

of  England  in  1485.     He  had  married  Elizabeth  of  York,  and  thus 

reunited    in    person    the    risrhts    of    the    two    families 

Accession  of  the 

House  of  Tudor,    between   whom   the  kingdom  had  been  divided   for  so 

1485.  ° 

many  years.  The  Wars  of  the  Two_  Roses,  or  of  the 
houses  of  York  and  Lancaster,  ended  at  his  accession  to  the  throne. 
About  the  same  time  the  Breton  nobles  triumphed.  They  seized 
Landais  in  the  very  chamber  of  their  sovereign,  who  delivered  him  up 
while  asking  for  mercy  ;  it  was  in  vain :  Landais  was  condemned  to 
death  and  executed,  and  the  feeble  Francis  II.  approved  of  the  sentence. 
Anne  of  Beaujeu  profited  skilfully  by  the  success  of  her  allies. 
civil  war  in  ®ne  s"°-bdued  the  south,  and  took  Guienne  away  from  the 

trance,  i486.  Count  of  Commingle,  who  had  embraced  the  side  of 
the  princes.  The  latter  were  in  consternation.  Dunois  reanimated 
their  courage ;  he  addressed  many  princes  far  distant  from  one 
another,  to  whom  he  gave  hopes  of  gaining  the  hand  of  the  daughter 
of  the  Duke  of  Brittany,  heiress  of  the  duchy.  It  was  thus  that 
lie  flattered  one  by  one,  and  drew  over  to  or  maintained  on  his  side, 
Alain  d'Albret,  the  Lord  of  Beam,  Maximilian  of  Austria,  recently 
elected  King  of  the  Romans,  and  the  powerful  Yiscount  of  Rohan. 
However,  Anne  caused  her  brother  to  summon  to  the  throne,  in  the 
Parliament  of  Paris,  the  leagued  princes  and  the  principal  nobles  of 
their  party.  They  did  not  appear  ;  and  in  the  month  of  May  following 
a  sentence  was  issued  by  which  Count  Dunois,  Lescun,  Count  of  Com- 

*  Catherine,  after  the  death  of  Henry  V.,  had  married,  a  second  time,  a  Welsh 
gentleman  named  Tudor,  a  descendant  on  the  female  side  from  the  third  son  of 
Edward  III.,  John  of  Gfaunt,  Duke  of  Lancaster. 

1483-1498]  TREATY   OF   SABLE.  323 

minge,  Philip  de  Comines,  the  Lord  of  Argenton,  and  many  other 
nobles,  were  condemned  as  being  guilty  of  high  treason  against  the 
King.     JSTo  sentence  was  pronounced  against  the  princes. 

Anne  followed  up  her  advantages.     She  entrusted  the  royal  army 
to  La  Tremouille,  who  marched  into  Brittany  and  met 

^  .  Battle  of  Saint 

the    army    of    the    princes    near    to     Saint    Anbin    du   Aubindu 

J  r  m  Cormier,  1487. 

Cormier.  Marshal  de  Bieux,  the  Lord  d'Albret,  and 
Chateaubriand  commanded  it ;  the  Duke  of  Orleans  and  the  Prince 
of  Orange  were  in  its  ranks.  They  engaged  in  battle ;  it  was 
gained  by  La  Tremouille,  and  prepared  the  way  for  the  union  of 
Brittany  with  France.  The  Duke  of  Orleans,  the  Prince  of  Orange, 
and  a  great  number  of  nobles  were  taken  prisoners.  The  conqueror 
invited  them  to  his  table,  and  when  the  repast  was  finished  two 
Franciscan  monks  entered  the  saloon.  The  guests  were  struck  with 
stupefaction :  La  Tremouille  rose  and  said,  "  Princes,  I  send  back 
your  sentence  to  the  King  ;  but  you,  knights,  who  have  broken 
your  faith  and  falsified  your  oath  of  chivalry,  you  will  expiate  your 
crime  with  your  heads.  If  you  have  any  remorse  in  your  con- 
sciences, here  are  two  monks  to  confess  you."  The  saloon  resounded 
with  sobs ;  the  knights,  supplicating,  embraced  the  knees  of  the 
princes,  who,  seized  with  horror,  remained  immovable.  The  con- 
demned were  led  out  into  the  courtyard  and  put  to  death.  The 
Duke  of  Orleans  and  the  Prince  of  Orange  were  led  back  into 
France,  where  Anne  held  them  prisoners.  The  treaty  _ r  ..  g  w^ 
of  Sable,  concluded  in  the  same  year,  suspended  hos-  1487- 
tilities  between  France  and  Brittany. 

The  Constable,  the  Duke  of  Bourbon,  was  dead  ;  his  brother,  Lord  of 
Beaujeu,  had  inherited  his  title  and  all  his  power.  Anne,  who  had 
become  Duchess  of  Bourbon,  lived  after  the  battle  of  Saint  Aubin 
du  Cormier  in  possession  of  an  authority  which  ceased  to  be  con- 
tested. This  princess  had  had  for  a  long  time  in  view  the  union 
of  Brittany  with  the  crown.  No  project  could  be  more  useful  to 
the   kingdom,    which   was    constantly  in   peril  through 

.  Death  of  the 

the  independence  of  that  great  fief.     A  few  months  after   Duke  Francis  n. 

Different  parties 

the   signature   of  the   treaty    of    Sable,  old  Francis   II.    in  Brittany, 
died.     Charles    VIII.     claimed      the     guardianship     of 
his   daughters,     of    whom.    Anne,    the    eldest,    was    scarcely   twelve 

y  2 

324  MARRIAGE    OF    CHAELES    YIII.  [BOOK  III.  Chap.  III. 

years  old.  While  princes  and  powerful  nobles  disputed  her  hand, 
many  parties  were  formed  in  Brittany,  where  the  different  aspi- 
rants called  for  assistance  from  the  English  and  Spaniards.  The 
latter,  sent  by  Ferdinand  of  Aragon  and  by  the  celebrated  Isabella 
of  Castile,  opposed  the  pretensions  of  the  Lord  d'Albret,  who  was 
supported  by  the  English.  All  were  leagued  against  France,  but 
very  much  weakened  through  anarchy.  Such  was  the  state  of  affairs 
in  the  duchy,  when,  in  1490,  the  young  Anne  of  Brittany,  in  order 
to  escape  from  her  persecutors,  consented  to  marry  the  King  of  the 
Romans,  Maximilian  of  Austria.  That  prince  was  absent,  and  the 
marriage  was  only  celebrated  by  procuration.  Deceived  in  his  hopes, 
the  Lord  d'Albret  betrayed  the  Bretons,  and  sold  to  Charles  YIII. 
the  town  of  ISTantes,  of  which  Jie  Avas  the  governor.  The  King 
obtained  new  advantages,  and  soon  after  surprised  Rennes,  where 
the  Duchess  was,  and  carried  her  off.  Then  was  seen  accomplished 
a  strange  fact  in  the  annals  of  history.  Anne  of  Brittany  and 
Charles  VIII.  were  married,  the  former  to  Maximilian,  and  the 
latter  to  Marguerite  of  Austria,  eleven  years  old,  daughter  of  the 
same  Maximilian  and  Mary  of  Burgundy ;  but  neither  of  the  two 
marriages  had  been  consummated.  Both  one  and  the  other  were 
annulled  by  the  Church,  and  Charles  YIII.  married,  in  1491,  Anne 
of  Brittany,  who  ceded  to  him  all  the  rights  of  sove- 

Charles  VIII.  .  . 

marries  Anne  of  reio-nty,  ^eneras'ine*  herself,    if  she  became   a  widoAv,   to 

Brittany,  who  8      ./>         8    8     8^  »        .  ^ 

cedes  to  him  her    marry  only  the  heir  to  the  kingdom.     In  the  following; 
rights  of  sove-  J  J  °  ° 

reignty  over  her  year  Charles  YIII.  promised  solemnly  to  respect  the 
privileges  of  the  Bretons ;  he  swore  that  he  would  not 
raise  any  subsidy  from  them  without  the  consent  of  the  States  of 
the  province,  that  no  Breton  should  be  called  into  judgment  except 
before  the  judges  of  his  country,  and  that  there  should  be  no  appeal 
from  the  Parliament  of  Brittany,  which  they  called  The  Great  Days, 
to  the  Parliament  of  Paris,  except  in  cases  of  denial  of  justice  or  false 

Charles,  who  was  twenty-two  years  of  age,  was  then  the  most 
powerful  sovereign  in  Europe.  Since  the  preceding  year  he  had 
thrown  off  the  prudent  guardianship  of  his  sister.  The  first  act 
of  his  authority  was  to  set  at  liberty  the  Duke  of  Orleans,  whom  she 
held  a  prisoner  in  the  tower  of   Bourges,  and  on  whom  he  heaped 

1483-1493]  HIS    CONCESSIONS   TO    FOREIGN   STATES.  325 

proofs  of  his  tenderness  and  confidence.  He  soon  abandoned  him- 
self to  his  chivalric  ideas,  and  dreamed  of  distant  enterprises  and 
conquests.     In   order  to   facilitate  the   execution  of  his   n         .       , 

^  Concessions  of 

adventurous  projects,  he  hastened  to  conclude  with  the  ^^efo-n111' 
principal  sovereigns  of  Europe  onerous  treaties,  by  which  sovereisus- 
he  sacrificed  some  of  the  most  precious  acquisitions  of  his  father. 
Maximilian  of  Austria,  whose  wife  he  had  carried  off  and  whose 
daughter  he  had  repudiated,  contemplated  a  startling  vengeance. 
Charles  VIII.  appeased  him  by  giving  up  to  him,  by  the  treaty  of 
Senlis,    the    counties    of    Burgundv   and   Artois.      The   „     ;     .  „    .. 

'.  o  J  Treaty  of  Senlis, 

King  of  England,  Henry  VII.,  whom  he  had  assisted  1493- 
in  conquering  his  kingdom,  repaid  him  with  ingratitude,  and,  having 
obtained  large  subsidies  from  his  people  in  order  to  make  war  against 
France,  he  besieged  Boulogne  with  an  army.  Charles  obtained  peace 
by  recognizing,  in  the  treaty  of  Etaples,  a  debt  of  seven  hundred 
and  forty-five  thousand  gold  crowns,  payable  to  that  avaricious 
monarch,  who,  according  to  the  expression  of  the  great  Bacon,  his 
historian,  made  his  people  pay  for  war  and  his  enemies  for  peace. 
He  lastly  gave  up,  in  the  same  hope,  by  the  treaty  of  Treat  f 
Barcelona,  to  Ferdinand  of  Aragon  and  Isabella  of  Barcelona> 1493- 
Castile,  vanquishers  of  the  Moors,  and  conquering  in  Grenada,  the 
counties  of  Boussillon  and  of  Cerdagne,  dearly  purchased  by  Louis  XI. 
In  peace  with  the  neighbouring  states  and  with  his  people,  Charles 
VIII.  saw  himself  able  to  satisfy  his  passion  for  distant  adventures 
and  chivalrous  conquests.  Brought  up  in  ignorance  of  men  and 
things,  possessing  no  historical  instruction,  incapable  of  all  calcu- 
lation and  of  all  foresight,  he  had  only  nourished  his  intelligence  by 
reading  romances  of  chivalry,  and  gave  himself  up  to  no  other  exercises 
than  those  of  jousts  and  tournaments.  His  imagination,  warmed  by 
the  recital  of  the  exploits  of  Charlemagne  and  of  the  Norman 
knights,  persuaded  him  that  he  was  called  upon  to  follow  their 
example.  He  thought,  they  say,  of  conquering  Constantinople;  but 
bounded  his  ambition  at  first  with  Italy  and  Sicily. 

Eor  a  long  time  Italy  had  excited  the  cupidity  of  the  French.  The 
successive  pretensions  of  the  two  houses  of  Anjou  had  called  over, 
since  the  time  of  Saint  Louis,  in  each  generation,  swarms  of  French  or 
Provencal  adventurers  to  that  beautiful  country.     Thos3  who  did  not 

326  STATE   OF  ITALY.  [Book  III.  Chap.  IIL 

fall,  returned  covered  with  brilliant  armour  made  in  Lombardy,   or 

with  sumptuous  stuffs  from  Florence.     They  boasted  of  the  delights 

of  a   splendid   climate,    of    the   exquisite   wines    of    the    South,    the 

wonders  of  industry  and  luxury,  and  of  all  the  wealth 

State  of  Italy  at  J  J 

*^  "uiof  the       that  had  tempted  them.     This  beautiful  country  seemed 

loth  century.  x  J 

an  easy  prey  to  seize,  in  the  midst  of  the  decadence 
and  servitude  of  all  Italy.  Venice  alone,  with  its  3,000  vessels,  its 
army  of  condottieri  well  paid  and  well  disciplined,  its  industry 
flourishing,  and  its  terrible  constitution,  the  safeguard  of  its  liberty, 
remained  independent  and  formidable,  extending  its  territories  from 
the  frontiers  of  Camiole  almost  to  those  of  Switzerland. 

The  kings  of  France  had  never  lost  sight  of  Italy;  Louis  XI., 
among  others,  sought  to  obtain  rights  over  it :  it  was  at  his  instiga- 
tion that  the  old  King  of  Naples,- Rene  of  Anjou,  designated  as  his 
heir  Charles  of  Maine,  his  nephew,  to  the  prejudice  of  Rene  II., 
Duke  of  Lorraine,  son  of  his  eldest  daughter.  Charles  of  Maine,  on 
taking  the  title  of  King  of  Naples,  named  Louis,  in  his  turn,  his 
sole  heir.  This  will  was  the  only  title  on  which  Charles  Till. 
rested  his  pretensions  to  the  crown  of  Naples  and  Sicily,  then 
possessed  by  a  prince  of  Aragon,  Ferdinand  I.,  son  of  Alphonso  the 


There  was  always  in  the  kingdom  of  Naples  a  party  favourable  to 
the  house  of  Anjou,  and  which  was  called  the  Angevin  party.  It  was 
composed  for  the  most  part  of  barons  who  had  revolted  against  the 
atrocious  tyranny  of  Ferdinand.  They  appealed,  uselessly,  to  Rene  of 
Lorraine  to  come  into  the  kingdom ;  in  place  of  him  they  addressed  - 
themselves  to  Charles  VIII.,  and  offered  to  him  the  crown.  This 
prince  had  still  another  supporter  in'  Italy.  Louis  the  Moor,  son  of 
the  great  Francesco  Sforza,  was  all-powerful  at  Milan.     He  had  made 

*  The  Queen  of  Naples,  Jeanne  II.  of  Duras,  had  separately  adopted  Louis  IIL,  of 
the  second  house  of  Anjou,  and  afterwards  Alphonso  V.,  King  of  Aragon.  Louis  died 
while  disputing  the  inheritance  with  the  King  of  Aragon,  and  his  brother  Eene  succeeded 
to  his  lights.  The  struggle  continued  between  him  and  Alphonso,  who  ultimately  gained 
the  victory.  He  was  the  first  who  bore  the  title  of  King  of  the  Two  Sicilies.  It  was  known, 
in  fact,  that  from  the  time  of  the  Sicilian  Vespers,  Sicily  had  ceased  to  belong  to  Aragon. 
At  the  death  of  Alphonso  (1458),  the  kingdom  was  again  dismembered.  The  island 
returned  to  Aragon,  where  John  succeeded  his  brother,  and  Naples  remained  to  Fer- 
dinand, a  natural  son  of  Alphonso. 

1483-1498]  INVASION   OF  ITALY.  327 

himself  master  of  the  regency  of  this    duchy  in  1479,   supplanting 
in  power  Bonne   of   Savoy,  sister-in-law   of  Louis  XI.   Situationand 
and  mother  of  the  young  Duke  John   Galeas,  brutified  gS0°0fr^touis 
by  sensual  pleasures,  and  incapable  of  reigning  himself.   Mllan- 
Louis  the  Moor,  uncle  of  John  Galeas,  had  left  to  him  the  title  and 
apparel  of  sovereign  power ;  but  he  held  all  the  authority  in  his  own 
hands.     Afflicted  by  the  divisions  in  Italy,  he  thought  of  uniting  it 
into  one  body;  but  his  genius  provoked  the  jealous  hate  of  all  the 
sovereigns   of    that  country.       Threatened   by   the   Venetians,    and 
distrusting  the  new  Pope,  Alexander  VI.,  who  was  always  ready  to 
sell  himself  to  the  party  that  offered  most,  he  believed  that  he  needed 
the  support  of  the  French,  and  called  them  into  Lombardy. 

From  that  time  Charles  VIII.  no  longer  hesitated  ;  encouraged  by 
his  two  favourites,  the  Cardinal  Briconnet,  Bishop  of  Saint  Malo,  and 
of  Vesc,  Seneschal  of  Beaucaire,  and  vainly  opposed  hy  Anne  of 
Bourbon  and  her  husband,  he  resolved  to  depart.  Already  he  thought 
that  after  having  conquered  Italy  he  would,  through  the  Pope,  set 
free  the  Sultan  Zizim,  whom  his  brother  Bajazet  II.,  Emperor  of  the 
Turks,  had  driven  from  the  throne,  and  intended  with  the  support  of 
his  name  to  march  upon  Constantinople.  About  this  time  Ferdinand 
died  at  Naples,  leaving  two  sons — Alphonso  II.,  who  succeeded  him, 
already  celebrated  in  his  wars  against  the  Turks ;  and  Frederic,  to 
whom  his  brother  entrusted  the  command  of  the  Neapolitan  fleet. 

It  was  in  the  month  of  August,  in  the  year  1494,  that  the  French 
army  began  to  pass  over  the  Alps.     It  was  composed  of 
three   thousand    six    hundred    men-at-arms,    of    twelve    Charles  vnr.  for 

'  Italy.     First 

thousand   archers    or    cross    bowmen,     eight    thousand   hostlllties> 1494- 
Gascon  foot   soldiers   armed    with    arquebuses,   and    eight  thousand 
Swiss  and  Germans,  forming  in  all  thirty-two   thousand  men,   acconi-„ 
panied  by  a  formidable  artillery,  then  the  best  in  Europe.     Italy  rose 
at  their  approach. 

On  arriving  at  Milan,  the  King  saw  in  the  citadel  Duke  John 
Galeas,  who,  nearly  deprived  of  sense,  and  exhausted  by  his 
debauches,  was  sinking,  attacked  by  a  disease  which  poison  had 
probably  caused,  and  which  shortly  afterwards  bore  him  to  the  tomb. 
Louis  the  Moor  soon  took  the  title  of  Duke  of  Milan.  The  French 
army  continued  its  march  across   Lombardy,   and  arrived  upon  the 

328  FALL    OF    FLORENCE    AND    PISA.  [BOOK  III.  Chap.  III. 

territory  of  Florence,  where  some  places  which  barred  its  progress 
were  carried.  The  Swiss  committed  frightful  barbarities  there, 
massacring-  all  the  prisoners,  both  inhabitants  and  soldiers.  Terror 
went  before  the  army.  Alarmed  by  the  recital  of  these  atrocities, 
Peter  di  Medici,  son  of  Lorenzo  the  Magnificent  and  chief  of  the 
Florentine  republic,  delivered  to  the  French  many  towns  and 
strong  castles.  The  people,  indignant,  rose  against  him,  while  that 
young  man,  incapable  and  presumptuous,  sought  a  refuge  in  Venice, 
and  the  Florentines  believed  themselves  free.  They  hailed  the 
French  with  acclamations  as  their  liberators.  Pisa  and  Florence 
opened  their  gates,  and  Charles,  admitted  into  the  towns  as  an  ally, 
entered  them  as  a  conqueror.  A  stranger  to  the  revolution  that  was 
being  enacted  around  him,  ignorant  of  the  motives  of  the  kind 
ci  ri  viii  t  recePJci°n  °f  ^ne  people,  he  spoke  as  a  master  to  their 
Florence,  1494.  deputies,  and  told  them  in  answer  to  their  friendly 
speeches,  that  he  did  not  know  yet  whether  he  would  give  them  as 
governors  the  Medici  or  French  counsellors.  The  indignation  of 
the  Florentines  was  at  its  height.  "If  it  be  so,"  said  Peter  Caponi, 
chief  of  the  deputation,  "  sound  your  trumpets,  and  we  will  sound 
our  bells."  The  people  ran  to  arms  :  the  houses  and  the  vast  palaces 
of  Florence  were  filled  with  soldiers.  Charles  VIIL  perceived  the 
danger,  and  renounced  his  pretensions.  He  recalled  Caponi,  obtained 
a  subsidy  to  help  him  in  his  enterprise,  and  promised  to  restore  at 
the  end  of  the  war  the  fortresses  delivered  up  by  the  Medici. 

Ferdinand,  son  of  Alphonso  II.,  charged  by  his  father  to  stop  the 
French,  was  supported  neither  by  the  Pope  nor  the  Florentines. 
Too  weak  to  struggle  alone,  he  recoiled  before  the  enemy,  and 
Charles  VIII.  arrived  almost  at  Home  without  drawing  sword. 
Alphonso,  whose  armies  melted  away  without  fighting,  reduced  to 
despair,  abandoned  his  people  and  his  throne,  and  thenceforth  only 
thought  about  his  treasures  and  his  conscience.  Minister  to  the 
cruelties  of  his  father,  he  saw  arranged  before  him  the  shadows  of 
his  victims,  and  recognized  the  hand  of  God  in  his  disasters. 
Agitated    by   a   superstitious    terror,    he    abdicated   in. 

Abdication  and 

tiight  of  favour  of  his  son  Ferdinand ;  then  he  embarked  with 

Alphonso  II.,  1495.       _ 

his  riches,  and  sailed  towards  Mazarra,  in  Sicily.     There 
he  shut  himself  up  in  a  house  of  the  religious  Olivetans,  passing  his 

1483-1498]  CHARLES    VIII.    ENTERS    NAPLES.  329 

clays  in  fasting  and  prayers  ;  he  died  during  the  same  year.  Fer- 
dinand II.  saw  his  army  seized  with  fear.  A  sedition  broke  out  in 
Naples.  He  left  in  order  to  calm  it  down,  and  entrusted  his  army 
to  the  Milanese  Trivnlzio,  who  betrayed  him,  and  sold  the  army  to 
Charles  VIII.  Ferdinand  only  came  back  in  time  to  be  witness  of  this 
infamous  treachery ;  he  returned  to  Naples,  which  shut  its  gates 
upon  him,  and  embarked  with  his  family  for  the  island  of  Ischia. 
Charles  VIII.  arrived  before  Naples,  all  of  the  privi-  E 
leges  of  which  he  confirmed,  and  made  a  triumphal  ^Jj^f  J^11' 
entry  into  the  town.  149°' 

The  French  warriors,  intoxicated  with  their  glory,  thought  only 
of  enriching  themselves  promptly.  Their  captains  had  demanded 
from  the  King  the  highest  dignities  and  the  most  important  fiefs  in  the 
kingdom,  and  Charles  refused  nothing.  He  knew  neither  the  names 
of  the  Angevin  barons  to  whom  he  owed  gratitude,  nor  those  of 
the  barons  of  Aragon,  the  proper  treatment  of  whom  was  of  great 
importance  to  him.  He  offended  all,  and  there  was  scarcely  a 
gentleman  whom  he  had  not  thrown  into  the  party  of  malcon- 
tents by  a  denial  of  justice  or  by  some  imprudent  outrage.  Still, 
the  storm  growled  behind  him.  The  powers  of  Europe  became 
alarmed  at  his  rapid  successes.  Spain,  Maximilian,  Venice,  and  the 
Pope  leagued  themselves  secretly  together  against  him,  Europeanleague 
and  the  soul  of  this  league  was  his  ancient  ally,  Louis  vlii8ty$*TlQa 
the  Moor.  The  conduct  of  the  French  in  his  respect 
was  as  injurious  as  it  was  rash.  Forgetting  his  services,  and  the 
need  that  they  still  had  for  him,  they  haughtily  reproached  him 
with  the  death  of  John  Galeas,  refused  to  recognize  his  title,  and  the 
Duke  of  Orleans,  invoking  the  rights  that  he  held  from  Valentina 
Visconti,  his  grandmother,  entitled  himself  the  Duke  of  Milan. 
Louis  the  Moor  only  waited  for  the  moment  of  vengeance,  and 
that  moment  soon  presented  itself.  Philip  de  Comines,  ambassador 
from  the  King  to  Venice,  was  informed  of  the  projects  of  this 
formidable  league,  and  hastened  to  give  a  warning  to  the  King, 
who  slept  upon  his  triumph  in  the  midst  of  the  most  frivolous 
and  foolish  occupations.  Charles  ordered  an  immediate  Retreatofth 
retreat,  and,  rejecting  the  offer  that  Ferdinand  II.  had  French- 
made  to  him  io  hold  for  him  in  fief  the  crown  of  Naples,  he  named 

330  EATTLE   OP  FOENOVO.  [Book  III.  Chap.  III. 

his   relation    Gilbert    de  Montpensier  viceroy   of  the  kingdom,   and 
entrusted  to  him  a  portion  of  the  army. 

The  Duke  of  Orleans,  whom  Charles  had  left  at  Asti  in  order  to 
preserve  communications  with  his  kingdom,  had  compromised  by 
his  imprudence  the  retreat  of  the  French.  Impatient  to  seize  the 
ducal  crown  of  Milan,  he  had  attacked  Louis  the  Moor,  who,  after 
having  repulsed  him,  held  him  in  blockade  at  ISTovarre.  All  Lom- 
bardy  arose ;  the  Venetian  army  arrived  and  united  itself  with  the 
Milanese ;  Francis  cli  Gonzaga,  Marquis  of  Mantua,  commanded  their 
united  forces,  and  the  retreat  was  cut  off.  The  French  army,  very 
inferior  in  numbers,  met  them  near  Fornovo ;  it  was  attacked  in 
the  pass  of  Taro,  and  gained  a  signal  victory.  This  battle  of 
Battle  of  FomoYo  ^'orilo^ro,  where  a  multitude  of  Italians  lost  their  lives, 
1495,  made  safe  the  retreat  of  Charles  VIII.     The  King,  by 

the  treaty  of  Verceil,  made  peace  with  Louis  the  Moor,  and  recog- 
Treaty  of  Verceii    I1^ze^  mm  as  Duke  of  Milan,  and  that  prince  declared 
himself  in  return  a  vassal  of  the  crown  of  France  for 
the  fief  of  Genoa.* 

While  Charles  returned  to  his  states, '  Ferdinand  and  Gonzalvo  of 
Cordova — the  conqueror  of  Grenada,  and  the  greatest  captain  of  his 
century — attacked  the  French  left  in  the  kingdom  of  jSTaples.  The 
The  French  lose  Y^CGT0Ji  Gilbert  de  Montpensier,  was  compelled  to 
Naples  and  Sicily,  evacuate  the  capital.  He  permitted  himself  to  be  shut 
up  in  Atella;  reduced  to  capitulation,  he  with  five 
thousand  soldiers  laid  down  their  arms,  and  engaged  to  leave  the 
kingdom  after  having  restored  all  the  captured  places  with  the 
reserve  of  Gaeta,  Venosa,  and  Tarentum.  An  epidemic  cut  down 
his  troops ;  he  himself  was  attacked  by  it,  and  died  at  Pozzuolo : 
barely  five  hundred  soldiers  survived  him.  Charles  VIII.  received 
the  news  of  these  disasters  at  Lyons  and  Tours,  in  the  midst  of 
licentious  fetes.  He  projected  a  second  expedition,  when  in  1498 
Death  of  Charles  ^e  was  s^ruc^  with  apoplexy,  in  consequence  of  a 
viii.,  149S.  violent   shock.     He  died   in   his    chateau   of  Amboise, 

at  the  age  of  twenty- eight  years. 

*  A-ter  the  revolt  of  1409,  the  republic  of  Genoa  was  given  anew  to  France.  Charles 
VIII.  ceded  it  to  the  Duke  of  Milan  ;  Louis  XII.  recovered  it ;  and  Francis  I.  lost  it 

1483-1498]  CHARACTER    OF   CHARLES   VIII.  331 

One  of  the  distinctive  traits  of  his  character  was  an  extreme 
kindness  of  disposition.  "  The  most  humane  and  the  sweetest  word 
of  man  that  ever  existed,"